FINANCE

Trans World CEO Under New Contract

BY CSA STAFF

Albany, N.Y. Trans World Entertainment Corp. CEO Robert J. Higgins will be paid a $1 million per year base salary as part of a new, three-year contract with the company.

Higgins’ new contract takes effect Dec. 31, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Higgins was paid a base salary of $1.25 million in 2007, as well as in 2008.

The new agreement replaces a five-year contract that expired April 30.

Under the new contract Higgins, who founded the Albany, N.Y.-based company in 1972, will be eligible for annual bonuses of up to 200%of his base salary and be reimbursed for travel and other expenses. He will also be awarded restricted stock units worth $1.1 million.

The new base salary comes at a time when the specialty retailer is trying to stem the tide of falling revenue as more consumers rely on computer downloading and big-box stores to buy music. Trans World is also faced with a weak economy that has hurt sales for many retailers during the important Christmas shopping season.

Trans World owns the f.y.e. (For Your Entertainment) retail stores.

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Consumer Confidence shaken

BY CSA STAFF

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index in December fell to 38.0, down from 44.7 in November. The new figure is the lowest since 1967, when the business group began tracking the index. A reading of 100 represents 1985 levels of confidence.

Also on the decline were the Present Situation Index, down from 42.3 last month to 29.4 in December; and the Expectations Index fell from 46.2 to 43.8.

“The further erosion of the Consumer Confidence Index reflects the rapid and steep deterioration of economic conditions that occurred in the fourth quarter of 2008,” said Lynn Franco, director of the Conference Board Consumer Research Center. “The Present Situation Index is now close to levels last seen in the months following the 1990 to 1991 recession, but is not as low as levels reached during the 1981 to 1982 recession. Declines in the Expectations Index appear to be moderating, but this index continues to hover at historical lows. Both sub-indexes bear careful watching over the next several months to see if they are starting to show signs of approaching a bottom. In the meantime, however, the overall economic outlook remains quite dismal for the first half of 2009, and only a modest recovery is expected in the second half.”

Consumers’ short-term outlook was only moderately more pessimistic. Those anticipating business conditions to worsen over the next six months increased to 32.8% from 28.3%, while those expecting conditions to improve rose to 13.4% from 11.5%.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is based on a representative sample of 5,000 U.S. households. The monthly survey is conducted for The Conference Board by TNS.

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American Greetings to acquire Recycled Paper Greetings

BY CSA STAFF

CLEVELAND American Greetings announced it has reached an agreement to acquire Recycled Paper Greetings, a Chicago-based creator of humorous greeting cards with annual net sales of approximately $80 million.

Recycled Paper’s humor cards are distributed primarily through mass retail partners, drug stores and specialty retail stores. The transaction is subject to various closing conditions including a Chapter 11 reorganization process being successfully completed for Recycled Paper and other closing conditions.

American Greetings plans to continue to use the Recycled Paper Greetings name.

 

CEO Zev Weiss said, “The acquisition of Recycled Paper Greetings will be an excellent addition to our current product offering. This transaction will give American Greetings an enlarged product design capability and a compelling product offering that is expected to delight consumers and enhance productivity for our retail partners.”

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