The history of Trans World Entertainment is a more than 35-year tradition of innovation, evolution and success.
Trans World was founded in 1972 by Robert J. Higgins and opened its first retail store in 1973 under the name
Record Town, and grew its retail business to 38 stores over a 10-year period — capitalizing on the burgeoning
mall phenomenon. In 1982, the Company sold the wholesale business to focus on the retail side, expanding the
number of retail outlets to more than 200. Trans World went public in July 1986, selling 1.6 million shares of stock
at $16.50 per share.
Between 1984 and 1990, Trans World increased its store expansion on an average of 10% annually.
The industry changed with the introduction of CDs in 1983 and home video in 1989, and Trans World quickly
expanded at an average of 41% annually. By 1994, Trans World owned and operated 712 stores.
1997 brought success with record-setting $571 million in annual sales, and profits of $20.7 million.
Trans World also acquired Strawberries, Inc. a 90-store music retailer operating in the New England
area. Shareholders were awarded a 2-for-1 stock split during the year.
The Company again exceeded expectations in 1998 with sales totaling $700 million and profits reaching over
$40 million. A retail website — www.twec.com — was launched and shareholders were awarded a 3-for-2 stock
split. That same year, the Company signed a definitive agreement to acquire Camelot Music Holdings, one of
its largest national competitors. The acquisition was completed in 1999.
In 2001, Trans World united its mall-based portfolio and retail Web site under the F.Y.E. (For Your Entertainment)
brand name — creating a consistent, cross-channel experience for our customers, and redefining entertainment
retail in the process. Interactive, ubiquitous and customer-centric, the F.Y.E. concept involves proprietary in-store
technologies positioning Trans World for continued growth.
Following through on the promise of the F.Y.E. concept, 2002 marked the nationwide launch of Trans World’s LVS — industry-leading
listening-viewing stations, revolutionizing the in-store customer experience. The LVS enables customers to instantly sample any of
thousands of music, movie and game titles...driving trial and sales. More than 12,000 LVS units were rolled out to 550 stores across the
country in 2002, and later in 2004, richer content and functionality were added — to further enhance this selling tool.
2003 featured more strategic growth, as Trans World acquired Wherehouse Entertainment. This acquisition added approximately 100 stores to the
Company’s freestanding portfolio, and expanded its presence in the West Coast market. In 2006, Trans World acquired its largest competitor, Musicland,
and added select high-performing stores to its mall portfolio. The company currently operates nearly 800 stores nationwide. In 2006, sales eclipsed $1.5 billion.
Building upon the strength and success within its core music business, the Company continues to proactively
seek and create growth in emerging categories — including gaining marketshare in categories such as
DVDs, video games and digital media. Through three and a half decades of industry change, Trans World has remained a leader and
pioneer — a tradition that continues today.