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Sharper Image Files for Bankruptcy

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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