Trans World Entertainment Corporation is a chain of entertainment media retail stores in the United States. It currently operates just over 300 freestanding and shopping mall-based stores under several brand names, down from about 540 in August 2010.
Based out of Albany, New York, Trans World was founded in 1972 by Robert Higgins. It opened its first store, called Record Town (formerly Record Land), in 1973. The company went public in July 1986 and has expanded through acquisitions of a number of smaller or failing companies including Strawberries, Camelot Music, and Wherehouse Entertainment.
On September 23, 2000, Trans World signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of WaxWorks, and the deal was expected to close by the end of October.
As part of a 2002 settlement with 41 states over CD price fixing Trans World Entertainment, along with retailers Musicland and Tower Records, agreed to pay a $3 million fine. It is estimated that between 1995 and 2000 customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album.
In February 2006, Trans World acquired the Musicland Group, which owned Sam Goody, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, and Media Play. This also included a handful of On Cue stores.
Trans World operated at a net loss from 2006 to 2010. In fiscal year 2011 it turned a profit of $2.2 million (compared to a $31 million loss in FY 2010). The company closed some locations and increased margins on its products.