Trans World Entertainment

Last updated
Trans World Entertainment Corporation
Traded as NASDAQ:  TWMC
Russell Microcap Index component
Industry Retail
FoundedDecember 1972;46 years ago (1972-12)
FounderRobert Higgins
Headquarters Albany, New York, U.S.
Products CD, Blu-ray, and DVD stores
Subsidiaries Suncoast Motion Picture Company

Trans World Entertainment Corporation is an American company which operates entertainment media retail stores across the United States of America. As of August 2018 it operated 240 freestanding and shopping mall-based stores under several brand names, down from about 540 in August 2010. With continued pressure from other media delivery options, up to 35 more closures are expected in 2019. [1]

Shopping mall Complex of shops with interconnecting walkways

A shopping mall is a modern, chiefly North American, term for a form of shopping precinct or shopping center in which one or more buildings form a complex of shops with interconnecting walkways, usually indoors. In 2017, shopping malls accounted for 8% of retailing space in the United States.


Based in Albany, New York, Trans World was founded in 1972 by Robert Higgins. It opened its first store, Record Town (formerly Record Land), in 1973. The company went public in July 1986 and has expanded through acquisitions of a number of smaller or failing companies including Strawberries, Camelot Music, and Wherehouse Entertainment.

Albany, New York Capital of New York

Albany is the capital of the U.S. state of New York and the seat of Albany County. Albany is located on the west bank of the Hudson River approximately 10 miles (16 km) south of its confluence with the Mohawk River and approximately 135 miles (220 km) north of New York City.

Morris Levy American music executive

Morris Levy was an American mobster, jazz club, music publishing, and independent record industry entrepreneur, widely known as the founder and owner of Roulette Records and the owner of the Birdland jazz club and the Roulette Room.

Camelot Music was a leading mall-based retailer of prerecorded music and accessories and was one of the largest music retailers in the United States based on store count.

On September 23, 2000, Trans World signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of WaxWorks, and the deal was expected to close by the end of October. [2]

As part of a 2002 settlement with 41 states over CD price fixing, Trans World Entertainment, along with retailers Musicland and Tower Records, agreed to pay a $3 million fine. [3] It is estimated that between 1995 and 2000 customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album. [4]

Between 1995 and 2000 music companies were found to have used illegal marketing agreements such as minimum advertised pricing to artificially inflate prices of compact discs in order to end price wars by discounters such as Best Buy and Target in the early 1990s. It is estimated customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album.

The Musicland Group, Inc. was an entertainment company that ran Musicland, Sam Goody, Discount Records, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, OnCue, and the Media Play Superstore Chains. The Musicland Group was purchased by Best Buy in 2001 at the height of Musicland's success, which ultimately led to its demise. Jack Eugster was the CEO of The Musicland Group, from 1980, until February 2001. Its headquarters were in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In February 2006, Trans World acquired the Musicland Group, which owned Sam Goody, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, and Media Play. The buyout included a handful of On Cue stores.

Sam Goody was a music and entertainment retailer in the United States and United Kingdom, operated by The Musicland Group inc. It was purchased by Best Buy in 2000, sold to Sun Capital in 2003, and filed for bankruptcy in 2006, closing most of its stores. The remaining stores were purchased by Trans World Entertainment which also runs FYE, Saturday Matinee, and Suncoast Motion Picture Company. It specialized in music, video, and video game sales. In 2008 Trans World converted most Sam Goody stores into FYE, though some still operate under the Sam Goody name.

Suncoast Motion Picture Company is an American chain of retail stores specializing in physical media, including DVD and Blu-ray films and television series, evolving over time and previously carrying Betamax, VHS, LaserDisc and HD DVD versions of those works. The stores also carry various other items, including movie-related posters, toys, collectibles, Japanese manga, and snacks such as Pocky and Ramune.

Media Play was a chain of retail stores founded in 1992 by Musicland that sold movies on video, DVDs, music, electronics, video games, books, and games in the United States. Each store essentially contained a book store, a movie store, a music store, and a video game store under one roof. At their height, they operated 72 stores in 19 states with 2,000 employees. The first store opened in Rockford, Illinois, in 1992. Hundreds of stores were slated to be opened, but only 89 ever were. Media Play opened stores from 1992 to 2000.

Trans World operated at a net loss from 2006 to 2010. In fiscal year 2011 it turned a profit of $2.2 million (compared to a $31 million loss in FY 2010). The company closed some locations and increased margins on its products. [5]

Profit margin, net margin, net profit margin or net profit ratio is a measure of profitability. It is calculated by finding the net profit as a percentage of the revenue.



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Best Buy Consumer electronics retailer

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Tower Records is an international retail music franchise and online music store that was formerly based in Sacramento, California, USA. From 1960 until 2006, Tower operated retail stores in the United States, which closed when Tower Records filed for bankruptcy and liquidation. was purchased by a separate entity and was not affected by the retail store closings.

Record shop vendor of music recordings on audio storage like CD, LP record, tape

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Horton Plaza Mall shopping mall in San Diego, California

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Specs Music defunct South Florida-based retail music and video rental chain

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FYE (retailer) Entertainment retail store

FYE is an American chain of entertainment retail stores located in Albany. As one of several Trans World Entertainment brands, it began in 1993 and was expanded in 2001 after buying out and rebranding mall-based Camelot, Strawberries, Record Town and Coconuts stores. There are 206 locations as of May, 2019.

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