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Sharper Image Files for Bankruptcy

BY CSA STAFF

San Francisco Sharper Image Corp. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, saying declining sales and three straight years of losses led to a shortage of liquidity.

The company filed for protection late Tuesday with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Wilmington, Del. Sharper Image said it had $251.5 million of assets and $199 million of debts as of Jan. 31, according to the filing. Cash on hand totaled about $700,000, the filing shows.

“Sharper Image is in a severe liquidity crisis,” CFO Rebecca Roedell said in a separate filing. 

She said the company has suffered from increased competition, narrowing margins, litigation, lower consumer and market confidence, tighter credit from suppliers, and poorly performing stores.

Sharper Image is seeking a $60 million loan arranged by Wells Fargo Retail Finance LLC to keep operating, court papers said.

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Disney unveils new line of interactive toys

BY CSA STAFF

NEW YORK Disney announced today that it has launched a new line of Disney Fairies toys featuring Clickables technology. The interactive toys, Disney reported, were created as an exclusive collaboration with Techno Source.

The Disney Fairies toys, according to Disney, allow users to connect in the Disney Fairies Pixie Hollow, an online virtual world.

“The future of toys is about connecting online and offline play,” said Chris Heatherly, vp of technology and innovation for Disney Consumer Products. “Kids and tweens are quickly embracing virtual worlds and, while there are several Internet-related toys in the market today, the play ends when the computer gets shut down. With our new line of Disney Fairies toys featuring Clickables technology, we’re bringing the fun of social networking, collecting, and trading into the real world so that girls can extend the fun of the enchanting online world of Pixie Hollow to school, the park, or wherever they may be.”

The Disney Fairies line will range in price from $4.99 to $29.99 for interactive charms, bracelets and jewelry boxes.

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Farrah to head power tool unit at TTI-North America

BY CSA STAFF

ANDERSON, S.C. Techtronic Industries Co. has appointed Mike Farrah as power tool division president for TTI-North America. In his new position, Farrah will have full responsibility for the business as it relates to the Ryobi and RIDGID brands, including operations, product development, sales and marketing.

“Mike is a recognized leader with an extensive background in the power tool industry,” said Mr. Joseph Galli Jr., ceo of TTI. “His knowledge of our business from the retail perspective has proven invaluable. Since he joined TTI last year, Mike has led our power tool business to new heights, and I’m sure he will continue to excel in his expanded role.”

Farrah joined TTI in March 2007 as senior vp of power tool sales, marketing and product development. Previously, Farrah spent 10 years at The Home Depot in roles with increasing responsibility, including global product merchant for power tools. Prior to that, he spent an additional 10 years in the manufacturing and construction industries.

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