For the second year in a row, Trans World Entertainment has produced black ink. More importantly, the company says it will return to growth mode, with plans to open 20 stores in the fiscal year.
For the fourth quarter ending Feb. 2, 2013, Trans World Entertainment posted $35 million, or $1.11 per diluted share, in net income, on sales of $163 million. Those results more than double its net income form last year’s fourth quarter when it earned $16.5 million, or 52 cents per diluted shares on sales that declined 15% from $193.1 million, due to store closures during the year.
For the full year, Trans World produced $33.7 million in net income, or $1.09 per diluted share on sales of $458.5 million, as compared to $2.16 million in net income, or 7 cents per diluted share, on sales of $542.6 million. This marks the second year in a row of black ink after four straight years of red ink. Prior to last year, the last time Trans World had been profitable was in 2007.
The company’s net income, however, was boosted by a one-time sale of a real estate asset, which produced a net gain of $22.75 million. If it weren’t for that sale, Trans World’s profits would have been about $11 million for the year, which still represents substantial growth over the previous year’s net income. (In the most recent fiscal quarter and year, Trans World’s numbers reflect 14 weeks and 53 weeks, versus 13 weeks and 52 weeks for the prior year.) The sales decline for the year was 15.5% due to a 1% comparable-store decline and due to operating an average of 378 stores in 2012, versus 439 stores in fiscal 2011.
For the year, gross profit was 37.5% of revenue, while selling general and administrative expenses were 33.8%. That produced earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of $17.3 million from $11.5 million in the prior year, excluding the one-time extraordinary gain from the asset sale.
In talking about product lines during a conference call with Wall Street, the company said video, which comprised 43% of revenue in the fourth quarter, was flat on a comparable store basis due to an increase in blu-ray sales, offset by a decline in DVD sales. The company further said that trend merchandise was the star performer, with comparable-store growth of 23 % for the fourth quarter, versus the corresponding quarter of the prior year. Trend merchandise now compromises 13% of Trans World’s business, and the company is going to maximize that product line by looking for ways to expand into other different lines of merchandise in the category.
Meanwhile, music comparable-store sales declined by 13% in the fourth quarter, due to a weaker release schedule in this year’s fourth quarter than the prior year, according to Trans World chairman/CEO Bob Higgins. “We continue to see music segment decline,” Higgins said. “We don’t see any fantastic potential for music sales, other than vinyl, which is still a small percentage.”
But Higgins said that while he doesn’t see music as a growth business, Trans World can maintain music at about 30% of sales by picking up music sales as competitors reduce their inventory selection. “There will always be people who want to buy that product,” he said. “The key is to maintain as much as the music sales as we can, but to continue to adjust that department to its productivity.”
The company has no debt and didn’t borrow any money from its revolver for the second year in a row, operating on a cash flow basis, thanks to ending the year with a $133 million cash cushion on its balance sheet.
While Trans World closed the year with 358 stores, Higgins said that the chain is done with its store closure program and now plans to open about 20 stores in its current fiscal year. As such, this could potentially be the first year of store growth for Trans World since 2006.