April 14, 2008, 12:00 AM

Sharper Image chairman resigns, but may try to acquire the retailer

Jerry W. Levin has resigned as chairman of multi-channel retailer Sharper Image Corp. and could join other, unnamed investors to acquire some or all of the company’s assets, the company says.

Jerry W. Levin has resigned as chairman of multi-channel retailer Sharper Image Corp. and could join other, unnamed investors to acquire some or all of the company’s assets, the company says.

Sharper Image CEO Robert Conway says the company would “give full consideration to any proposal that may be made to acquire the company’s business or assets.” But the company adds “there can be no assurances that such a proposal will be forthcoming.”

Levin, a turnaround specialist and former CEO of American Household Inc., joined Sharper Image in 2006 following the departure of founder and former CEO Richard Thalheimer. The acquisition interest follows several years of declining sales at the once high-flying retailer.

A pioneer in multi-channel retailing whose annual web sales surpassed $116 million in 2004, putting it at No. 63 in the 2005 edition of the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide, Sharper Image has experienced steadily declining sales since then. The retailer is ranked at No. 122 in the 2007 edition of the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide based on 2006 web sales of $85 million.

For the third quarter ended Oct. 31, 2007, its most recent period with reported financial results, web sales declined 47% year-over-year to $7.98 million from $15.02 million, as total revenue fell 34% to $69.45 million from $106.21 million and total net loss widened 3% to $22.74 million from $22.09 million.

Levin, who also worked in senior executive positions at Revlon Inc. and The Coleman Co., served as interim CEO of Sharper Image until the company hired Steven Lightman, former president of retail company Crosstown Traders Inc., as CEO in March 2007.

Lightman left the company early this year and was replaced in February by Conway, a founding member of retail turnaround firm Conway, DelGenio, Gries & Co.

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