Trans World preparing new marketing campaign

A year after Trans World shuffled a majority of its music and video retail stores under its flagship

A year after Trans World shuffled a majority of its music and video retail stores under its flagship f.y.e. brand, the entertainment retailer is preparing to launch its first regional brand-focused marketing campaign in the Albany and Harrisburg, Pa., markets.

At its annual meeting today at Albany Country Club, Trans World Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Robert Higgins laid out his beleaguered business’ road map to profitability. It included the radio and pilot advertising brand campaign that starts this month and runs through the end of the year.

The Guilderland music, video and video game retailer has spent the past two years strengthening its core brand, initially by converting its Coconuts, Strawberries, Warehouse and other stores into f.y.e. locations. It followed up on that conversion campaign in January by closing 149 mostly underperforming stores. Higgins said Trans World will likely shed an additional 75 to 100 stores next January, though none are expected to be in the Capital Region.

“Trans World is positioning itself for a return to profitability,” Higgins said.

Rocked by slumping music sales and lackluster video releases, Trans World has not reported a quarterly net income since the fourth quarter of 2006. It has not reported a quarterly net income outside the crucial fourth quarter that gets a boost from holiday sales since the second quarter of 2004. Trans World posted a net loss of $3.2 million for its 2007 fiscal year, compared to a net income of $11.7 million for the previous year.

Box office and music industry sales in June have Trans World executives viewing 2008 optimistically. For the first time since 2005, the music industry saw an album sell more than 1 million units in one week, with rapper Lil Wayne’s “The Carter.” Last weekend, Disney’s “Wall•e” and Universal Studio’s “Wanted” became the first two movies to open simultaneously and earn over $50 million each.

“This is starting to be an exciting time. I’m starting to be jazzed,” Trans World Entertainment President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Litwak said.

But Trans World investors were not too jazzed this afternoon. The company’s stock was down 9 cents, or 3.2 percent, at $2.75 per share.

Categories: Business

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