Sycamore Partners has created a new holding company for its Ann Taylor, Loft and Talbots brands, the KnitWell Group, which will also provide oversight and shared services to the plus-size women’s apparel brand Lane Bryant. Sycamore had bought the brands from Ascena Retail Group for $540 million in November 2020.
Lizanne Kindler, current CEO of Talbots, will lead KnitWell Group as Executive Chair and CEO. “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 in a statement. “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. We are excited about the opportunities ahead and grateful to our more than 30,000 associates for being part of this next chapter.”
The Ann Taylor and Loft brands launched a multi-brand loyalty program, StyleRewards, in October 2022, but this reorganization indicates the possibility of even more coordination among the brands.
Additionally, Sycamore may be looking to bring other brands into the new group: “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,” said Stefan Kaluzny, Managing Director of Sycamore Partners in a statement. “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.”