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Sharper Image Files for Bankruptcy

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Sharper Image Corp., the seller of $300 electric shavers and $1,999 massage chairs, filed for bankruptcy protection after losing money in 11 of the last 13 quarters.

The 31-year-old retailer will shed 90 stores while it deals with a ``severe liquidity crisis,'' Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Roedell said in papers filed last night in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. Sharper Image has lost more than $135 million since early 2005 on bad publicity stemming from lawsuits over its Ionic Breeze air purifiers and ``ever-tightening'' credit markets, the company said.

Former Chairman Richard Thalheimer founded Sharper Image in 1977 and built it into a company with 184 stores by selling gadgets such as the Ionic Breeze and $100 shaving mirrors. By January, sales had fallen every quarter for three years, and the San Francisco-based retailer brought in turnaround specialists to run the company last week.

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Elaine Misonzhnik

Senior associate editor Elaine Misonzhnik has been writing for National Real Estate Investor since June 2006 and has covered commercial real estate for more than 12 years. She first became...
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