: Sharper Image files for bankruptcy



Rolex
02-20-08, 10:52 AM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23252707/


The San Francisco-based company filed for protection late Tuesday with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Delaware. Sharper Image said it had $251.5 million of assets and $199 million of debts as of January 31, according to the filing. Cash on hand totaled about $700,000, the filing shows.

“Sharper Image is in a severe liquidity crisis,” Chief Financial Officer Rebecca Roedell said in a separate filing.

She said the company has suffered from increased competition, narrowing margins, litigation, lower consumer and market confidence, tighter credit from suppliers, and poorly performing stores. “The foregoing has been compounded by the ever-tightening and volatile credit and financing markets,” she added.

Sharper Image is seeking a $60 million loan arranged by Wells Fargo Retail Finance LLC to keep operating, court papers show.



The only thing I have ever bought at Sharper Image is some stocking stuffer bath toys for my kid this last Christmas. Their stores are full of overpriced junk that can be found online for a lot cheaper.

dkozloski
02-20-08, 03:11 PM
You're right about the overpriced junk.

JC316
02-20-08, 03:32 PM
In todays economy, I can see why they are failing. I have bought several things from them. Namely Ionic Breeze's and Dynomax Powerball. Hmm, maybe I can get some really cheap Ionic Breeze's now.....

Rolex
02-20-08, 09:22 PM
Yeah, when they start liquidating their inventory I'll go pick up a glow in the dark nose hair trimmer or something. :p

gdwriter
02-20-08, 09:26 PM
Yeah, when they start liquidating their inventory I'll go pick up a glow in the dark nose hair trimmer or something. :pYou never know when you'll need to do a little personal grooming in the middle of the night. :histeric:

97DevilleBeige
02-20-08, 09:26 PM
This sort of store has survived because of "trend" items. At one time, it was the massage chairs. Another, it was the Razor scooter. For a long time, it's been the ionic breeze air purifiers. Consumer Reports threw them under the bus with a trashy rating and saying it could possibly do more harm than good by putting "ozone" in the room. They havn't been able to find the right product mix to support the chain since the fall of these air purifiers. A large bulk of the company's income has come from these "fad" items. They tried with flat screen tv's, but they simply don't have the right execution to pull it off.

JC316
02-21-08, 03:10 AM
The Ionic breeze is a damn nice unit, it collects dust liek a magnet and make the room smell great.

Crown Vic Owner
02-21-08, 04:15 AM
Please tell me you are kidding me.

I say its about time.

Jesda
02-21-08, 05:07 AM
Sharper Image used to have a pretty unique and interesting selection of luxury items. Now, with all of these things mass-produced in China and sold at Wal-Mart, specialty high-markup retailers like Sharper Image lose their appeal.

Then again, Brookstone is doing fine.
http://www.ir.brookstone.com/pages/news.html?d=136662

Kael
02-21-08, 03:34 PM
Sharper Image was cool when it had a lot of "ooh and aaah" items.
The uniqueness of the items made it okay to have the prices as high as they were. But then the internet exploded and those items were no longer hard to find, and the prices were no longer acceptable. Sharper Image doesnt have any truly unique items like brookstone does, they usually have cheap gadgets or cheap knockoffs of other company's products (wall hanging cd players etc).
They should have been trying to innovate, bring new higher end products to the masses that had that "ooooooh pretty" appeal, but instead they just went with the same prices and cheaper made crap.

good riddance

TSS
02-21-08, 03:48 PM
They have /had kickass fog free shaving mirrors . Then home depot got them too, online...for about 1/2 the price..... I also got a kickass swiss diamond tipped pair of 50.00 tweezers from Sharper Image. Seriously. I had a gift certificate and it was all I was intersted in. Damn fine pair of tweezers!

NOT ON MY WATCH
02-21-08, 03:55 PM
Heh...diamond tipped tweezers? Tweezers pull, not cut - and I've never heard of tweezer tips wearing out, so that seems like a pretty useless feature. I suppose if your hair is really...umm...hard....and you want a tweezer product that will last you a lifetime...then Sharper Image to the rescue!

TSS
02-21-08, 04:16 PM
Heh...diamond tipped tweezers? Tweezers pull, not cut - and I've never heard of tweezer tips wearing out, so that seems like a pretty useless feature. I suppose if your hair is really...umm...hard....and you want a tweezer product that will last you a lifetime...then Sharper Image to the rescue!


LOL. I don't know... other lessor tweezers sometimes lose their grip and it takes two or three tugs. The diamond tips always pull out the hair in the first try. Splinters too. Sounds ridiculous, I know. But if I ever lost them, I would spring for another set of diamond tips. Perhaps I just have more stray and unwanted hair than most folks.

NOT ON MY WATCH
02-21-08, 04:57 PM
Perhaps I just have more stray and unwanted hair than most folks.

:histeric: WAY TMI!

The Tony Show
02-21-08, 05:16 PM
I always saw neat stuff in the SI catalog, but the prices- holy crap! :eek:

caddycruiser
02-21-08, 11:39 PM
...that can be found online for a lot cheaper.

This is SO key, and a problem that has plagued more than just Sharper Image. Well, not necessarily a problem, but a circumstance.

When you can see a new gadget and then get it in seconds for a fraction of the price from one of thousands of electronics sites, Ebay, etc...who, at all, is going to go into a store like Sharper Image? To me, and I know others, it has always ended up as a test drive/play store. Walk in there to see and play with things when you're in the mall, but then go right home and Google something you saw...and but it for a fraction of their price.

Playdrv4me
02-22-08, 10:03 AM
Sharper Image had its glory days in the 90's. That was it. I think they can be commended for coming this far but should probably just move to online operations at this point, if even that.

I used to go into the Sharper Image at North Star Mall in San Antonio ALL the time when I was a kid. In fact, back then they had so much trouble keeping hooligans out of the stores, you had to be 18 or older, then they lowered the age to 16 or older, and eventually as traffic died down, they removed the age limit altogether. Of course I rarely if ever got chased out of there.

Someone mentioned cheap Asian goods earlier and that's absolutely correct. Sharper Image was always known for the slickest, highest quality and expensive goods back in its hayday and now NO ONE, not even Sony, which used to be a prominent brand in their showroom can afford to overproduce products like that. Sony used to have real over the top stuff like chrome plated 10th Anniversary walkmans, Portable LCD Televisions with built in timers and FM tuners and the like. Small niche electronics like this were Sharper Image's bread and butter and the stuff just isn't made the same with the same wow appeal anymore. Walking through sharper image might as well be a trip through a plastic factory, it's terrible. It's actually amazing that Sharper Image didn't fold at the same time that most of the Tandy empire did in the middle 90s to early 00s. It is long overdue.

Brookstone survives because their stores are MUCH less focused on the high end of personal luxury like Sharper Image is, their stores are larger and brighter, and their inventory is ALOT more diverse (read: Bedding) and inexpensive knick knacks are par for the course over there. While Sharper Image is HURT by cheap asian imports, Brookstone BENEFITS from them in such things as 20.00 Laser pointers (another thing Sharper Image pioneered back when they were 200.00), 30.00 Keychain LCD Picture wallets, Parking Distance meters for your garage etc etc. In addition to this they have a huge selection of "health and beauty" items like stair climbers, scales, mirrors and they also feature alot of exclusives in this category. I can't begin to count how many times I've seen the oddest contraptions at Brookstone... like an excercise machine you ride like a horse, another one that emulates the real action of skateboarding and so on. Brookstone focuses on the UTILITY of an item at a reasonable (for a mall) price. Sharper Image focused far too long on the EXCLUSIVITY of items.

Overhead will ultimately be Sharper Image's nail in the coffin. It costs HUNDREDS of thousands of dollars to keep the rent paid in the country's most exclusive malls and shopping centers, which is the only place you will find an SI store. It's simply too much overhead to bear with the market the way it is now.

Were it not for their prominence as just about the only place to buy connectors, cables and repair items, Radio Shack would (and has to an extent) be facing the same scenario. Personal electronics just aren't a mall friendly market anymore.

TSS
02-22-08, 12:53 PM
What a great analysis playdrv4me! And, I too cannot believe that RS has not folded. You cannot get the types of small items there that you used to. Their "exclusive" items are dwindling and dwindling. And, their help used to be extremely knowledgable about electronics. Now, at least in my area, they appear to have no formal training and no more qualifications than being able to run a cash register. Not a slam on them, as that is all they seem to be expected /trained to do. Add their inflated prices on big ticket items (versus big box stores) and their doom is near. I used to pay for the expertise there. Without the expertise or exclusive selection, I rarely walk in their door. Too bad. I really used to love the place in the 80's/90's.

Playdrv4me
02-22-08, 01:54 PM
What a great analysis playdrv4me! And, I too cannot believe that RS has not folded. You cannot get the types of small items there that you used to. Their "exclusive" items are dwindling and dwindling. And, their help used to be extremely knowledgable about electronics. Now, at least in my area, they appear to have no formal training and no more qualifications than being able to run a cash register. Not a slam on them, as that is all they seem to be expected /trained to do. Add their inflated prices on big ticket items (versus big box stores) and their doom is near. I used to pay for the expertise there. Without the expertise or exclusive selection, I rarely walk in their door. Too bad. I really used to love the place in the 80's/90's.

I remember the peak for me was probably somewhere around 95 or 96 maybe. It was around the time the "Mind's Eye" and then the sequel to that came out. They used to sell and play that video in there all the time. I remember they had all the way back then, a lapel style scrolling LED display that you could wear like a nametag and program with different messages. Back then? $200.00, now? $10.00. I thought it was the coolest thing though. They carried ALOT of Casio products too that NO ONE ELSE had, and of course several Bang and Olufsen products (BeoCom phones come to mind) throughout the years until B&O finally reigned in all merchandising to it's own stores.

Another store like this on a bigger scale that had a VERY abrupt end itself with the advent of Best Buy, Circuit City and the expansion of WalMart was Service Merchandise.

TSS
02-22-08, 02:24 PM
.

Another store like this on a bigger scale that had a VERY abrupt end itself with the advent of Best Buy, Circuit City and the expansion of WalMart was Service Merchandise.

Oh yeah, forgot about that place. We used to go there for so many things. Sears would have suffered the same fate (and nearly did) , but they changed their product line greatly in response.

SvB4EvA
02-22-08, 02:52 PM
GOOD! cause their shit sucked moose ass!