Against all odds, retail survivor Trans World Entertainment turns profit

Where do you go to buy music and movies? Chances are, not to a brick-and-mortar shop. Not anymore, anyway. Not when the Internet offers all those discs at better prices, minus that judgmental employee who smirks at your every purchase. But despite the digital entertainment revolution, some people still love hitting the local shops, touching the merchandise and, of course, putting that obnoxious worker in his place. And in 2011, they did.

Trans World Entertainment, which continues to operate more than 400 For Your Entertainment (F.Y.E.) and Suncoast locations, posted net income boosts last year.

Against all odds, retail survivor Trans World Entertainment turns profit

Home Media Magazine reported that the movie and music retailer turned a massive $31 million net loss in 2010 to a slim $2.2 million gain last year. Trans World also saw net income of $16.5 million for the holiday quarter, a $4 million increase over its results during Q4 2010. Tempering the good news, the company’s recent Q4 sales numbers fell 17 percent to $193.1 million from the year prior quarter’s $231.3 million in sales.

“These results reflect the commitment, hard work and dedication of our associates, who provide our customers with a strong selection, value and exceptional customer service,” said Robert Higgins, Trans World Entertainment CEO. “We look forward to continued success in fiscal 2012.”

Early last year, Trans World announced it would close several stores due to flagging sales, eventually bringing the number of remaining shops to around 440. A far cry from 2006, when the Albany-based company operated around 1,100 locations.

Last summer, the struggling company jumped into the rental kiosk business with a limited test run. Had it spearheaded the idea years ago, it could have become what Redbox is today.