Ann Taylor, Loft Parent Company To Close At Least 250 Stores

Another 400 stores could close if lower rents can't be arranged, according to the publication.

A major retail group has announced plans to close hundreds of stores over the next two years.

Ascena Retail Group, whose brands include Ann Taylor, Ann Taylor Loft, Lane Bryant, Dress Barn, Maurices, Justice and Catherines, plans to close between 250 and 650 stores in the next two years, CNN Money reported.

While it's not clear how many stores of each brand will close, CNN Money reports that Chief executive David Jaffe told investors last week that 250 stores will be closed because of a consistent decline in traffic.

Another 400 stores could close if lower rents can't be arranged, according to the publication.

Jaffe did not mention where the stores closures will occur. The Chicago area currently has seven Ann Taylor stores, 29 Lane Bryant stores, 23 Dress Barn stores and 20 Maurices locations.

This isn't the first sign of a struggling retail landscape.

Children's clothing seller Gymboree Corp. this week filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The San Francisco-based company said it is seeking to reduce its debt load by $900 million, and it expects to operate its business and majority of its 1,300 stores during the restructuring.

Earlier this year, Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy protection and The Limited closed all 250 of its remaining stores.

Sears Holdings said Tuesday it will cut about 400 full-time jobs as part of the troubled retailer's plan to turn its business around.

The company, which owns the Sears and Kmart chains, said the cuts include some at its corporate offices in Hoffman Estates, support functions globally, certain field operations positions and jobs related to store closures. The eliminated jobs represent less than half a percent of the 140,000 full-time and part-time employees it had at the end of January.

The retailer, which has been losing money for years, has been closing stores, selling locations and putting some of its famous brands up for sale.

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