Trans World Entertainment continued its turnaround into black ink, posting net income of $1.6 million, or 5 cents per diluted share, on sales of $93.9 million in the first quarter ended May 4. But net income was down from the first quarter of 2012, when the company posted $2.8 million in net income, or 9 cents per diluted share, on sales of $112.3 million.
Total sales declined 16.3% as the company ended the first quarter of 2013 with 353 stores, down from 379 stores last year. During the first quarter the company said it closed 7 stores, while opening two stores. Beyond the store closures, also contributing to declining sales was a 6.6% comparable store sales drop for stores open for more than a year. Yet, Trans World was able to squeeze out profit by producing $35.8 million in gross profit, or a gross margin of 38.1% of revenue; while bringing down expenses 11.9% to $32.9 million of revenue, which resulted in general and administrative expense ratio of 34.9% of revenue.
In a conference call with Wall Street analysts, Trans World chairman/CEO Bog Higgins said that music, portable electronics, and video games were down on a comparable store basis, while trend merchandise were up and video sales were flat.
Music comprised 30% of sales during the quarter, down from 33% in the first fiscal quarter of 2012, due to a 16% drop in comparable-store sales in the category.
Last year, first quarter music sales were boosted by a stronger Grammy show than the one that aired this year. Also, the company "unfortunately" benefited by the tragic death of Whitney Houston, which drove stronger music sales last year. Neither ingredient was present this year, resulting in the large decline.
In response to a question from an analyst, Higgins said that the company regards Best Buy as its main competitor in music and reports that it will reduce shelf space to that product, which should benefit Trans World.
The company said it finished the quarter with $111.3 million in cash on hand, an improvement from a year ago when it was $62.3 million, while bringing inventory down to $153.5 million from $176.2 million and keeping accounts payable steady at about $52 million for both periods.