) --



investors waiting for the women's retailer to recover are looking in the wrong place.

Instead of focusing on the company's namesake chain, their eyes should be on the Loft division, UBS analyst Roxanne Meyer said in a note when she upgraded AnnTaylor to buy from neutral.

Shares of the specialty retailer soared 8% to $12.62 in afternoon trading on the upgrade.

"We see better product at both divisions, but are particularly encouraged by Loft's fashion and value pricing," Meyer wrote. "As customers continue to trade down in this environment, Loft should take market share."

Improved fits and the chain's Friends & Family sale held two weeks earlier than last year, should also help.

AnnTaylor is set to report its quarterly earnings results on Aug. 21. Meyer expects third-quarter earnings of 14 cents a share, while the Wall Street consensus is calling for 5 cents.

Shares of other women's apparel retailers were also in the green on Wednesday.

Coldwater Creek


jumped nearly 2% to $6.70,



grew 2% to $5.51 and

New York & Company


increased 2% to $4.21.

-- Reported by Jeanine Poggi in New York.

Copyright 2009 Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.