Trans World’s holiday sales decrease less than last season

Trans World Entertainment Corporation saw its sales decline again this holiday season as consumers b

Trans World Entertainment Corporation saw its sales decline again this holiday season as consumers bought fewer DVDs and games, though the decline was not nearly as bad as the last holiday season’s.

Total sales for the nine-week period ending Jan. 2 were $241 million, down 16 percent from $287 million for the same period last year, according to the Guilderland-based operator of FYE and Suncoast stores. Same-store sales, which measure how efficiently a company grows revenue, were down 8 percent during that period.

“The drop was attributed to declines in video and games partially offset by an improvement in our music business,” Trans World Chairman and CEO Robert Higgins said during a conference call.

But the $46 million sales decline was still an improvement from the devastating holiday sales period in 2008, when the company saw a $91 million drop in sales.

Trans World said stronger new releases than last year and a more aggressive promotional strategy with names like Susan Boyle, Alicia Keys, Andrea Bocelli, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber helped its music sales, which represented 31 percent of its business. Meanwhile, “The Hangover,” “Harry Potter,” “Family Guy” and “Inglourious Basterds” helped drive sales for DVDs, which accounted for 42 percent.

Music sales declined 1 percent and video sales 8 percent. Video game sales, meanwhile, dropped 17 percent as less promotion was done on key hardware systems.

Trans World spent 2009 shutting stores as it cut expenses, a trend set to continue in 2010.

“During the quarter, we’re closing 137 stores, which will bring our closings for the year to 161,” Higgins said. “We will end the year with 553 stores. A key part of our strategy is closing underperforming stores as we work to turn the business around.”

Trans World expects to finish the year with more than $50 million in cash on hand and up to $150 million in credit available for operations going forward.

Trans World is expected to announce earnings results for the fourth quarter and the year March 4.

Trans World operates six FYE stores spread across the Capital Region, at Crossgates Mall, Colonie Center, Wilton Mall, Rotterdam Square mall, Latham Farms and Johnstown Plaza.

Other stores are located throughout the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico, primarily under the names Suncoast and FYE, which stands for “For Your Entertainment.”

Categories: Business

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