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Company: Trans World Entertainment Corporation (Trans World Entertainment)

Trans World Entertainment is a leading specialty retailer of entertainment products, including video, music, trend, electronics, video games and related products. The Company operates retail stores in the United States, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

In 2013, Trans World Entertainment employed over 3,400 people and generated annual revenues of approximately $458 million.

Year Founded: 1973 Number of Locations: 440

Trade Names (# of locations)

F.Y.E. (368) ; Suncoast (17) ; Second Spin (4) ; Planet Music (1) 

Early Years and Growth

In 1972, Robert J. Higgins founded Trans World Entertainment as a wholesale music distributor.

In 1973, Trans World Entertainment opened a retail store in Albany, New York. The first store was called Record Town.

In 1982, Trans World Entertainment sold its wholesale business.

By 1983, Trans World Entertainment had grown to 38 stores.

In 1986, Trans World Entertainment issued its initial public offering (IPO).

By 1994, Trans World Entertainment had grown to 712 stores.

In 1997, Trans World Entertainment reached $571 million in annual sales, the highest in company history. That same year, the company bought Stawberries, a music retailer with 90 stores.

In 1998, Trans World Entertainment reached another all time high, growing its annual sales to $700 million. That same year, the company launched its first website www.twec.com.

In 1999, Trans World Entertainment bought Camelot Music Holdings. Camelot had been one of the company’s biggest competitors on a national level.

In 2001, Trans World Entertainment consolidated the F.Y.E. and retail websites to transition to a more cohesive corporate image.

In 2002, Trans World Entertainment launched a new concept, LVS. LVS stands for Listening-Viewing Stations and they were installed in company stores, first as a trial. While it may not seem like much to talk about in today’s environment, the concept allowed customers to sample music, movies and games from a selection of thousands. At the time, Apple’s iPod had only been on the market for about a year and digital downloads had not exploded yet, so this was something innovative that differentiated the company. The company rolled it out to 550 stores that year.

In 2003, Trans World Entertainment bought Wherehouse Entertainment. Wherehouse had about 100 stores and gave the company a good jump on the West Coast market.

In 2006, Trans World Entertainment bought Musicland. This was a huge deal for the company, since Musicland had been its biggest competitor, which owned well known brands including Sam Goody, Suncoast Motion Picture Company and On Cue stores.

In 2011, Trans World Entertainment closed 71 stores as it started to have financially problems.

In 2012, Trans World Entertainment closed 33 stores.

In 2013, Trans World Entertainment management said the company plans to open new stores, but they did not say when, where or how many.


Headquarter City: Albany, New York

Targeted Consumer

Trans World Entertainment’s target consumers are those who buy DVDs, CDs, electronics and video games.

Work Environment

Reviews on Glassdoor.com

The 22 reviews on Glassdoor.com show the company gets an overall 2.9 out of 5 stars and 33% of employees recommend the company to a friend. Of all the categories rated, every category is tied with 3.1 out of 5 stars.

Approximately 25% of reviewers approve of the company's CEO.

According to reviews, the company has several jobs that pay better than the industry average, including:

Store Manager: $52K

Senior Assistant Manager: $37K

Sales Associate-Hourly: $8/hour

In addition to competitive pay, the company offers its employees a 401(k) plan.

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