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Income, profit down at Trans World

Net income, sales and gross profit were all down in the first quarter for Trans World Entertainment Corp. Company leaders remain optimistic, however, that an emphasis on electronics and merchandise will help the Albany-based company come back strong.

"We continue to see electronics as a growth opportunity for our company," said Trans World Chairman and CEO Bob Higgins in a conference call. "One of our key initiatives for 2013 is to improve our assortment and customer-shopping experience in the portable electronics category, which will be rolled out in the majority of our stores by the end of the second quarter and will impact our results in the third and fourth quarters."

For the first quarter of 2013 ending May 4, the company reported net income of $1.6 million, or 5 cents per diluted share, compared to net income of $2.8 million, or 9 cents per diluted share, for the same period last year.

Comparable store sales for the quarter fell 6.6 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Total sales for the quarter fell 16.3 percent to $93.9 million compared to $112.3 million for the same period last year. The company ended the quarter with 353 stores compared to 379 stores last year. The company also opened two stores and closed seven stores over the last quarter.

Gross profit for the quarter was $35.8 million, or 38.1 percent of sales, as compared to $41.8 million, or 37.2 percent, of sales for the same period last year.

With fewer stores in operation, selling, general and administrative expenses fell 11.9 percent for the quarter to $32.8 million compared to $37.3 million in the comparable period last year.

Cash on hand was strong at the end of the quarter at $111.3 million, compared to $62.3 million at the end of the first quarter last year.

"Our strategy for the balance of 2013 is to continue to deliver value and an exceptional shopping experience for our customers," said Higgins in the call. "In addition, we will continue to aggressively seize opportunities to drive our sales and operating profits through investments in new and existing stores and growth categories. We’re positioning our company for future growth and look forward to the remainder of 2013."

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