By Chavie Lieber.
There are shoppers who view Ann Taylor’s family of brands, including Loft and Lou & Grey, as the destination for classic, affordable clothing (some would even go so far as to call it a cult favorite). For others, it’s just another mall brand consistently shouting that it’s 40 percent off.
Is either group willing to pay $95 a month to rent an unlimited amount of clothing from the company? Ann Taylor is betting on it.
Last month, Infinite Style quietly launched on an independent website. For a monthly fee, including shipping and exchanges, members can rent three pieces of clothing at a time from Ann Taylor’s current season. Jewelry, accessories, Loft, and Lou & Grey aren’t included, but there is an option to buy what you want to keep (at a discount). By launching something that’s like a cross between Stitch Fix and Rent the Runway’s Unlimited service, Ann Taylor is trying to win back the customers it’s likely lost to both. Both startups have surged to success over the last few years: Stitch Fix filed for IPO last month, boasting 2.1 million members and $977 million in annual sales; Rent the Runway, which has a $1 billion valuation, just debuted a lower-cost membership of four monthly pieces for $89.
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