Retailer AnnTaylor Stores Corp is to launch a high-end fashion line in 24 of its shops this week.

The new Collection line will consist of around 50 items priced about 40% higher than existing merchandise.

According to the Wall Street Journal, trousers will sell for $175 to $195 and suit jackets for $295 to $365, compared with trousers at $68 to $128 and suit jackets at  $198 to $228 in the mainstream lines.

The line will have its own department within Ann Taylor stores.

The women's wear retailer last month reported a 26.6% slump in second quarter profit on slow store traffic and poor merchandise assortments at both its Ann Taylor and Loft divisions.

The company is also planning to roll-out a new but unnamed retail concept in autumn 2008 targeting the modern boomer segment, which "is a significantly underserved segment of the apparel market."