Kaspien is an American company that provides software and services for ecommerce. Kaspien Holdings operates on Amazon in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and India, as well as Walmart Marketplace, eBay, Google Shopping, and Target. Its interim CEO is Goldman Sachs veteran Brock Kowalchuk, who took over March 11, 2022.
Trans World Entertainment Corporation
Based in Albany, New York, Trans World was formed in 1972 by Robert Higgins. It opened its first store, Record Town (formerly Record Land), in 1973. The company went public in July 1986 and has expanded through acquisitions of a number of smaller or failing companies including Strawberries, Camelot Music, and Wherehouse Entertainment.
On September 23, 2000, Trans World signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of WaxWorks, and the deal was expected to close by the end of October.
As part of a 2002 settlement with 41 states over CD price fixing, Trans World Entertainment, along with retailers Musicland and Tower Records, agreed to pay a $3 million fine. It is estimated that between 1995 and 2000 customers were overcharged by nearly $500 million and up to $5 per album.
In February 2006, Trans World acquired the Musicland Group, which owned Sam Goody, Suncoast Motion Picture Company, and Media Play. The buyout included a handful of On Cue stores.
Trans World operated at a net loss from 2006 to 2010. In fiscal year 2011 it turned a profit of $2.2 million (compared to a $31 million loss in FY 2010). The company closed some locations and increased margins on its products.
Acquiring etailz, Inc.
In October 2016, Trans World acquired etailz, Inc, a third-party online retailer, for $76 million.
etailz was founded in 2008 by Josh Neblett, Sarah Wollnick (now Sarah Neblett), and Tom Simpson as GreenCupboards and had operated as a niche retailer of eco-friendly products. The company rebranded to etailz in 2013 after acquiring Ecomom.
In January 2019, etailz laid off 20 percent of its workforce after Trans World reported a $14 million loss in the third quarter of 2018. etailz's founder and CEO left the company shortly thereafter in March 2019. In September 2019, etailz hired a new CEO, Kunal Chopra.
In January 2020, Trans World sold its FYE segment for $10 million to Sunrise Records and Entertainment Ltd., severing its ties to physical retail stores and leaving etailz as its only remaining subsidiary.
In March 2020, Trans World reconstituted its board of directors and its CEO stepped down. New members joined the board to reinforce the company's focus on ecommerce, including etailz founder Tom Simpson.
Rebranding to Kaspien Holdings
On September 3, 2020, Trans World Entertainment rebranded to Kaspien Holdings. Its remaining subsidiary, etailz, also changed their name to Kaspien, merging the two companies and solidifying the focus on ecommerce.