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NEW YORK CITY-In the midst of a complete assessment of its real estate Ann Taylor Stores will convert 10 Ann Taylor stores to LOFT units by year-end, executives said at the company’s third-quarter conference call.

An additional Ann Taylor unit has already been converted to the Loft format, said Michael J. Nicholson, CFO. As part of previously announced plans, 28 Ann Taylor units will close during the fourth quarter for a total of 45 closures.

“We are in the process of a complete rigorous portfolio analysis,” at each division, Nicholson added, with 2010 plans to be announced at the company’s year-end call. However, he noted that analysts could assume closures at a “similar cadence” to 2009. “We will continue to invest in both brands.”

Net sales for the quarter were $462.4 million, compared with net sales of $527.2 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2008. Comparable store sales for the quarter declined 13.7%, with Ann Taylor comps declining 25.8% and LOFT comps dropping 9.7%. Net income was $2.1 million, compared with a net loss of $13.4 million, in the prior-year quarter.

Ann Taylor Stores operates 932 Ann Taylor, LOFT, Ann Taylor Factory, and LOFT Outlet stores in 46 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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