Perhaps most importantly, Lejuez pointed out that these retailers' struggles are not the result of mismanagement—they're pegged to a need for more sales. Ann, for example, was early to trim its store count and size and has managed expenses well, he said.
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"There is often a tendency to assume a management team is doing something wrong when a business is pressured," he said. "These companies are not mismanaging the 'back of the house' type of stuff. …They just need more top line."
In response to Engine Capital and Red Alder's presentation, Ann said its board "continues in a very deliberate manner and on an informed basis to consider and determine the courses of action that are in the best interests of all of its shareholders."