By  on July 16, 2008

NEW YORK — AnnTaylor Stores Corp. said on Tuesday that Anthony M. Romano, chief supply chain officer, has resigned and the company expects to name a replacement soon.

The job is an important one for Ann Taylor and its more moderately priced sibling, Loft. Successful supply chain initiatives can improve profitability during even the most challenging times. Both brands have had supply problems in recent years. Ann Taylor and Loft have taken turns missing key fashion trends by not offering enough dresses one season and scrimping on color the next.

Romano, who joined Ann Taylor in 1997 as senior vice president of logistics, was focused on building a global transportation network to support the company’s new sourcing division. The area of information technologies was added to Romano’s sourcing duties in 2006.

In a separate development, the company on Tuesday said two senior executives, Brian E. Lynch and Michael J. Nicholson, have assumed expanded responsibilities, effective immediately. Lynch, president of Ann Taylor’s factory division with oversight over corporate store operations, takes responsibility for the company’s e-commerce business and corporate real estate and construction, under the new title of president of corporate operations.

Nicholson, executive vice president and chief financial officer, adds responsibility for information technology and global procurement to his portfolio.

AnnTaylor Stores said reported first-quarter income fell 17.7 percent because of the softness and uncertainty weighing on the retail sector.

For the three months ended May 3, income dropped to $25.9 million, or 43 cents a diluted share, compared with $31.5 million, or 46 cents, in the year-ago quarter. Sales gained 2 percent to $591.7 million from $580.3 million. Same-store sales declined 4.3 percent. By division, comps fell 11.5 percent at Ann Taylor, but inched up 0.7 percent at Loft.

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