Ann Inc. has opened its first store in Mexico, a Loft unit in the Antea Lifestyle Center in Queretaro, and plans two more Loft stores before the end of the year.

The entry into Mexico is being undertaken with franchise partner Grupo Axo.

The two additional units are in the Parque Toreo Mall in Mexico City and the Angelopolis Mall in Puebla.

“Entering Mexico is a natural next step in our international expansion strategy that takes advantage of our brands’ strong recognition and client loyalty throughout North America,” said Kay Krill, president and chief executive officer of the New York-based women’s specialty retailer. “This developing strategy is integral to our efforts to continue to grow our client base and further broaden our geographic reach following our successful entry into Canada in fall 2012.

“Overall, we are delighted that women in Mexico now have greater access to Loft’s modern, versatile style, and we look forward to expand our presence in this market in the future,” she added.

The Mexican stores will carry women’s apparel and accessories in addition to a petite collection. The Loft “style closet,” adjacent to the stores’ fitting rooms, will contain key pieces for each season and allow customers to work with store associates to assemble their outfits.

Grupo Axo was founded in 1994 and represents a wide range of global brand names in the Mexican market. It operates more than 2,000 points of sale within major department stores and more than 180 freestanding stores.

Ann Inc. operated 10 stores in the Canadian market at the end of 2013. At the end of the second quarter, the company operated a total of 1,040 stores in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada, 544 of them under the Loft brand. Its products are available in over 100 countries through its and Web sites.

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