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Sharper Image Brick-and-Mortar No More

Gordon Brothers / Hilco Liquidating Remaining 86 Stores
June 2, 2008
On May 29, a joint venture between well-known liquidators, Hilco and Gordon Brothers, as well as Bluestar Alliance, Windsong Brands and Crystal Capital, purchased the assets and intellectual property of San Francisco, CA-based electronics and gadgets retailer, Sharper Image Corporation, in bankruptcy auction for $49 million. When the retailer filed chapter eleven in February, it proceeded to close 96 stores -- Hilco and Gordon Brothers managed that liquidation process.

Now, as new owners, the group will proceed to liquidate of the inventory and dispose of the real estate for the remaining 86 Sharper Image stores, however, they plan to license the Sharper Image brand to keep it operating, and even expand the business, through Internet, catalog and wholesale operations in the U.S. and overseas. The group said liquidation of the inventory alone is estimated at $50 million.

Sharper Image stores are primarily mall-based and typically have 2,500 to 3,500 square feet of selling space with 1,200 to 2,000 square feet of storage and administrative space.

In February, Goldman Sachs' REIT analyst group said that each store closure could result in the loss of approximately $100,000 - $150,000 in annual rental revenues for landlords, but that the retailer's bankruptcy will have a "benign" impact on regional mall REITs.

Bluestar holds brands including Liz Lange Maternity, Ron Chereskin, Harve Benard and Hot Kiss. Windsong's brands include Ellen Tracy, Caribbean Joe, Joe's Jeans, Field & Stream, Como Sport, and Alerion Aviation.

This article appeared in CoStar's Retail News Roundup: Jun 1 to 7, 2008. The Roundup is a weekly column by CoStar senior news editor, Sasha Pardy, covering retail store expansions, closings, bankruptcies, acquisitions/mergers/sales, new retail developments, personnel changes, sustainability, and more. This week in the Retail Roundup, CoStar reports on expansions or new concepts at Polo Ralph Lauren, LaSalle Brands and Cato; new retail developments in UT, WI, OH and PA; acquisition, merger, loan or sale activity at Regency Centers and Macquarie, Centro Properties Group and Wendy's/Arby's; closings, cutbacks or bankruptcies at Sharper Image, Geoffrey Beene and Uni-Mart/Choice stations; personnel announcements at Ross Stores and Lee & Associates; sustainability at Citi bank branches; and more.

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