AnnTaylor

(ANN)

is on the Web!

The womenswear retailer has quietly opened the doors on its e-commerce site in time for the holiday season. At a recent investment conference, CEO Patrick Spainhour said he hoped the site would be up and running in time for the holidays, but set a backup date of March.

At the height of Internet frenzy, AnnTaylor was criticized for dragging its feet when it came to e-commerce. That criticism faded somewhat after the e-tailing sector took its springtime belly flop and it became clear that a Web site and some merchandise do not a successful business make.

Still, the company is getting into e-tailing after other apparel retailers like

Gap

(GPS) - Get Report

and its

Banana Republic

and

Old Navy

businesses, as well as

Talbots

(TLB)

and

J. Crew

. AnnTaylor's lower-priced

Loft

unit will also eventually sell online, Spainhour has said.

AnnTaylor's site has features including Wardrobe Advisor, which allows users to enter personal style and occasion information and get item recommendations. Its wardrobe room -- modeled after an in-store fitting room -- lets users mix and match items, viewing them in different combinations. Shoppers can also enter item numbers from in-store price tags to make purchases on the Web.

AnnTaylor's off-line business has been going strong, thanks to a surge of interest in dressier separates and suits for work, though sales growth at outlets open at least a year slowed to 1.3% during September, prompting a decline in the stock. AnnTaylor shares now trade at $25.44, about 47% off a 52-week high of $48.25.