We were astounded earlier this year when video, music, and game retailer Trans World Entertainment reported profits (see "News Flash: Video Chain Profitable!
"), and the good news continues for the chain, which is now planning to open a number of new mall stores in 2013. A specific number of new stores was not specified, and it’s not clear that the net number of stores will increase (as the conference call implied that there would also continue to be closings), but just the fact that new stores are being contemplated is an important sign of confidence in packaged media sales. Other packaged media retailers, such as Best Buy and Blockbuster, have been on an unremitting pace of store closings, with few positive signs (see "Best Buy Founder Resigns as Chairman
" and "Blockbuster Closing 500 Stores
Trans World made the announcement in the conference call associated with the release of its Q3 earnings, which were improved ($2.2 million loss for the quarter, down from a $4.5 million loss for the quarter a year ago). The company appears headed for its second straight year of profitability, behind a reduced store count (378 F.Y.E., Suncoast, and Saturday Matinee stores at the end of the quarter, down from 440 a year ago), and increasing same store video, trend (licensed goods, manga and other graphic novels), and electronics sales.