Parent company of MN-based maurices buying Ann Taylor, Loft brands

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The parent company of Duluth-based maurices is adding some more popular clothing brands to its expanding corporation.

Ascena Retail Group Inc., the parent company of maurices, announced Monday it is buying Ann Inc. in a roughly $2.15 billion deal, adding the Ann Taylor and Loft brands to its plethora of women's retail companies.

"Ascena will become one of North America's largest and most diversified specialty apparel retailers, with a tremendous set of opportunities to continue to expand its leadership position in the women's apparel market," David Jaffe, president and CEO of Ascena, said in the announcement.

The deal is expected to close later this year.

The retail group will now have nearly 5,000 stores worldwide that focus on women's clothing and accessories, Bloomberg notes, with the Wall Street Journal saying its clothing empire is for "real American women" – people who are on a budget or "may not wear a size 8."

The deal isn't expected to have much immediate impact on maurices, which has seen profits soar in recent months, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports. Ascena acquired maurices in 2005 for $320 million, but the chain is generally run independently from its parent company.

Maurices has 921 stores in the U.S. and Canada, and continues to grow. It is in the process of building a new 11-story headquarters in downtown Duluth. Construction of the $75 million building is on target for spring 2016 occupancy.

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