Sharper Image chairman resigns, may buy company

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Jerry W. Levin, chairman of the board at Sharper Image Corp., has informed the company that he is interested in participating with other investors to acquire some or all of Sharper Image's businesses or assets. Accordingly, it was agreed that Levin would resign his position with the board effectively immediately.

Sharper Image will “give full consideration to any proposal that may be made to acquire the company's business or assets,” said Robert Conway, the recently appointed CEO at Sharper Image, in a statement.

Levin, a previous CEO at Revlon, assumed the positions of chairman and interim CEO at the troubled specialty retailer in September 2006 after the departure of founder Richard Thalheimer. He was part of an investor group that had called for change at the retailer.

By February of this year, the situation had gone from bad to worse and Sharper Image Corp. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. It also replaced CEO Steven A. Lightman, who has years of multichannel retail experience and had been on the job for less than a year, with turnaround specialist Conway.

The last year Sharper Image reported an increase in comparable store sales was 2003, when same-store sales posted a 15.3% gain. In fiscal year 2004, sales increased 17% for a total of $760 million. Sales started declining soon afterwards and haven't stopped since. For the fiscal year ended January 31, Sharper Image said comparable store sales decreased 13%. Company sales totaled $374.9 million, a decrease of 26% compared to the previous year.

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