Trans World Entertainment Corp. Aug. 30 said its f.y.e. (For Your Entertainment) entertainment retail chain posted a second-quarter (ended Aug. 4) operating loss of $6.6 million, which was up 22% from an operating loss of $5.4 million during the previous-year period.
Revenue for one of the last nationwide chains primarily selling packaged media topped $50.5 million – down almost 15% from $58.9 million last year.
For the fiscal year through Aug.4, f.y.e. has upped its operating loss 22% to $12 million compared to an operating loss of $9.8 million last year. Revenue is down 15% to $104.6 million from $123.9 million.
Trans World attributed the Q2 decline in part to a 10.4% decline in total stores in operation (241 vs. 269) and a 6.7% decline in comparable store sales compared to the same quarter last year.
CEO Mike Feurer had another culprit for the revenue decline: fidget spinners. Toy gadgets comprised of a ball bearing in the center of a multi-lobed (typically two or three) flat structure made from metal or plastic designed to spin along its axis with little effort. Fidget spinners became popular in April 2017.
“Our sales results were impacted by tough comparisons due to the performance of fidget spinners, which represented 4% of sales in the second quarter of last year,” Feurer said in a statement.
Regardless, Feurer said efforts to change f.y.e.’s merchandise “point of view” from DVD, Blu-ray Disc movies, TV shows, video games and music CDs to “unique, relevant, collaborative and exclusive merchandise” has begun to yield results as sales improved Q2 throughout the quarter with July comp sales down just 0.7%.
Meanwhile, eTailz.com, the e-commerce platform Trans World Entertainment acquired in 2016 for $75 million, posted an operating loss of $2.7 million, compared to operating income of $98,000 last year. Revenue increased 18.6% to $51.6 million from $43.5 million.