New Sharper Image Catalog Arrives This Week

Relaunched gifts and gadgets merchant The Sharper Image has mailed its first print catalog just in time for Father’s Day. The 68-page catalog, which was scheduled to reach homes yesterday, includes Dad-inspired gift items such as wireless iPod speakers and golf swing video recorders.

Steve August, senior vice president/chief marketing officer for Sharper Image, would not provide specifics on how catalogs the company mailed. “But it is a substantial quantity, and we have shared that our plans for 2010 are in the high multimillion level,” he says.

The company has targeted a total of five catalog mailings for this year, centered on Father’s Day and the holiday season. Next year, “we will expand the mailings to more seasons,” August adds.

The original Sharper Image Corp. filed for bankruptcy in February 2008. The cataloger/retailer was acquired for $49 million in May 2008 in a joint venture led by private investment firms Hilco Consumer Capital Corp., Gordon Brothers Group, and Bluestar Alliance.

The new owners closed the brand’s 183 stores in 2008 and relaunched last fall.

The new Sharper Image is based on a licensing model in which the company works with “best-in-trade” partners and distributes its products in select stores and online. This enables the brand to leverage R&D to its core product competency.

So is the new catalog just like the old Sharper Image book?

“While we have attempted to capture the essence of the catalog from years past, this updated version is a bit denser from a merchandise perspective and contains more lifestyle images,” August says. “It really is designed to support a direct marketing response model as opposed to being used to drive traffic to Sharper Image stores.”

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