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Ann Taylor joins subscription-based clothing rental business

The U.S. feminine fashion retailer has made a strategic decision to compete with other clothing rental firms like Rent the Runway, in an attempt to revitalize its struggling fashion business.

The brand, long a staple of women's workwear in the U.S., is launching a subscription clothing service, ‘Infinite Style’. The new subscription-based service quietly debuted last month, allowing Ann Taylor (ASNA) customers to rent an unlimited amount of clothing (three items at a time) for 95 dollars a month.

Infinite Style includes other perks such as no due dates for returns, free shipping on orders and returns, unlimited item exchange and free dry cleaning. Ann Taylor shoppers will also have the option to purchase items they have rented, and for a discount.

As per the stock available, Infinite Style will only feature Ann Taylor brand apparel, though, and not the company’s accessories, jewelry, Ann Taylor Loft or Lou & Grey lines.

Ann Taylor’s Infinite Style adds to buoyant subscription-based fashion rental craze

Subscription commerce is currently enjoying tailwinds across much of the retail sector, spurred by the success of veteran players such as Stitch Fix, one of the best-known subscription services, which filed for an IPO last month.

As the CEO and founder of Rent The Runway put it in an interview with ‘The Guardian’, the subscription-based model allows clients access to a “library” of designer fashion, becoming a “closet in the cloud”. The company, which has bucked the trend by which female-led companies lag behind the mainstream in securing venture capital, turned a profit for the first time last year and made a splash this week when it announced a cheaper entry-level subscription plan.

Ann Taylor's last quarterly comparable store sales fell 2 percent compared to 2016. The previous quarter, comparable store sales were down 7 percent.

Image:Ann Taylor Web