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Sycamore Partners unites Ann Taylor, Loft and Talbots in new holding company

Ann Taylor and Loft were acquired by Sycamore Partners in 2020.

Sycamore Partners is bringing its three big apparel brands together under one roof. 

The private equity firm has formed KnitWell Group ("KnitWell"), a holding company comprised of Ann Taylor, Loft and Talbots. The three brands generate more than $3 billion in combined annual sales. Together, the brands position KnitWell as one of the largest specialty apparel companies in the United States.  (Sycamore also has large stakes in Staples, Torrid and Hot Topic in addition to other retail and consumer brands.)

In addition, Sycamore will also continue to provide oversight and shared services to plus-size women's apparel brand Lane Bryant.  

In 2020, after filing for bankruptcy, Ascena Retail Group sold Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant and Lou & Grey to Sycamore Partners for $540 million.  Sycamore acquired Talbots for approximately $391 million in 2012. 

KnitWell's name reflects the company's core belief that each brand is distinctive, but when put together they are a powerhouse retail organization dedicated to meeting customers where they are in their journey, Sycamore said in a press release.  United under the umbrella of a holding company, the three businesses could benefit from cost savings and shared talent and resources. 

Lizanne Kindler, who has served as CEO of Talbots since 2012, will lead KnitWell Group as executive chair and CEO. She is joined in the “office of the executive chair” by a seasoned team of retail executives, and further supported by senior leaders at each of the brands.  

"KnitWell is a collection of powerful brands that, in aggregate, have been providing customers with the fashions they want for nearly 300 years," said Kindler. "Brands are propelled by a deep and meaningful connection with the customers they serve, and that is where we start and end each day. With that as our North Star, we know that this new structure will support our efforts to unite brands and people by providing greater resources and capabilities, economies of scale, and enhanced value.”

Added Stefan Kaluzny, managing director of Sycamore Partners: "Lizanne and the team have done an incredible job over the last decade reviving and growing these iconic American brands, first Talbots and most recently Ann Taylor and Loft. The consistent and focused approach, which  leverages the replicable playbook this team has developed, is laying the foundation of success not only for the brands currently part of the KnitWell portfolio, but also for potential future brands. We look forward to our continued partnership with Lizanne and the entire team."


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