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Trans World Buying Tower Flagship Locations

17 Nov, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel



Trans World Entertainment, which last month narrowly lost out on the winning bid for the assets of bankrupt Tower Records & Video, is apparently awaiting court approval to acquire lease rights to select Tower locations, including flagship locations in West Sacramento, Calif.

The sites, located on Broadway and Watt Ave., where Russ Solomon started the venerable music retail chain 46 years ago, are slated to become Trans World's FYE (For Your Entertainment) stores beginning in February.

In addition, the Albany, N.Y.-based retail chain, which acquired the rights to bankrupt Musicland in March, has reportedly acquired the lease rights to Tower locations in Torrance, Calif.; Philadelphia; and Nashville, Tenn.

Drugstore retail chain Walgreen Co. reportedly acquired the lease rights to 11 Tower locations in Nevada, Southern Calif., and Hawaii.

During a conference call with investors last week, Trans World chairman and CEO Robert Higgins confirmed the Albany, N.Y.-based retail chain was pursuing select Tower store fronts among the 37 locations auctioned off in conjunction with the ongoing liquidation of all Tower stores.

About 52 lease locations remain to be auctioned. The judge overseeing the Tower bankruptcy granted the music chain's parent company an extension on the leases from Nov. 20 until Dec. 18.

Trans World, which lost out to the winning $134.4 million bid by Great American Group by $500,000, had planned to keep select Tower locations operating at least through the holidays.

Trans World CFO John Sullivan said he doesn't expect the FYE stores opening up in Tower locations would replicate the former brand's vibe.

Trans World said the new FYE locations would downplay music offerings due to an overall downturn in music packaged media sales while upping movie DVDs, games and electronics.

“We're a different company,” Sullivan told the Sacramento Bee. “I think [Tower customers will] find that we're going to have a good entertainment store.”

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