Tower Records continues its comeback as one of the top U.S. music merchants as last night it was named the retailer of the year for the large division. The awards were presented at the National Assn.

Tower Records continues its comeback as one of the top U.S. music merchants as last night it was named the retailer of the year for the large division, while EMI Music Marketing was named the top distribution company. The awards were presented at the National Assn. of Recording Merchandisers, which held its annual convention August 11-14 at the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina.

Tower Records, which has spent most of the new century turning around its business and even filed a pre-package Chapter 11 last year, received the top honor for the second year in a row. Waterloo Records & Video in Austin, Texas, picked up the award for the medium division and Twist & Shout won the small division for the astounding fifth year in a row.

In the wholesaler of the year category, Alliance One Stop Group, based in Coral Springs, Fla. scooped up the award for the large division, displacing the Troy, Mich.-based Handleman Co., which had won that award for the last three years.

Baker & Taylor, based in Charlotte, N.C., repeated as the top wholesaler in the medium-sized division, while Electric Fetus in Minneapolis scored the top honor for the small wholesale division for an amazing sixth year in a row.

Moving over to distribution, EMM managed to pick up the top honor even though it has the smallest market share among the U.S. majors. In the medium division, New York-based RED received the honor, while Redeye Distribution in Graham, N.C. scored a three-peat in the small division.

In the label category, Rhino Entertainment in Burbank, Calif., won the large division entertainment software supplier of the year, while the Verve Music Group in New York picked up the award for the medium category and Rykodisc in New York was the small division honor.