Byline: David Grant Caplan

NEW YORK — Patricia DeRosa resigned Monday from Ann Taylor Stores Corp. as president and chief operating officer of the 481-unit specialty retailer.
Her departure comes just days after the New York-headquartered company reported less-than-stellar holiday figures. As reported, Ann Taylor said same-store sales were down 0.3 percent for December and that it now expects its fourth-quarter same-store sales to decline in the low single digits.
DeRosa couldn’t be reached for comment Monday on her plans.
During her tenure, DeRosa oversaw the 1998 rolling out of the company’s Loft store concept to shopping centers and strip malls. Previously Loft stores had only been in factory outlet malls. The store also began de-emphasizing key items such as silk T-shirts, twin cotton sweaters and weekend attire to focus on pricier suits, dresses and casual business attire — a move some observers said alienated many customers.
In a statement, J. Patrick Spainhour, chairman and chief executive officer, praised DeRosa’s contributions the last four years and said a search is under way for her successor. He said the company will consider both internal and external candidates.
DeRosa joined Ann Taylor in December, 1996, after a 16-month stint as executive vice president at Charming Shoppes. Earlier she spent two decades at Gap Inc., where she rose to Gap division executive vice president and later president of GapKids.

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