Sharper Image to be sold at auction

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Sharper Image Corp. is pursuing a sale of its business and assets.

Any sale of the specialty retailer, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in February, will be subject to approval of the bankruptcy court. The company expects to complete a sale via auction by the end of May.

“Given the present retail climate and specialty nature of the company, as well as the limited financing available to the company, a sale of its business and assets at this time will preserve values and yield the best recovery to the company,” said Robert Conway, CEO at Sharper Image, in a statement.

The company joins a growing list of multichannel merchants that have recently filed for bankruptcy protection and ended up in an auction, including Lillian Vernon, which was sold to Taylor Corp. earlier this month, and RedEnvelope, for which an auction will be held next month. 

Earlier this month, Jerry W. Levin resigned his position as chairman of the board at Sharper Image Corp. in order to pursue acquiring some or all of Sharper Image's businesses or assets. The company said at the time that it would fully consider any proposal.

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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