Shares of Sharper Image, purveyor of yuppie gizmos (example: electronic snore detector, $60) tripled momentarily after the retailer announced plans for a TV home-shopping pilot on Sept. 27. The big question remains: What do the value-conscious 1990s hold for a company that sees indulgence as a long-term trend? Founder Richard Thalheimer thinks product mix and marketing are the answer: He has added cheaper items to his catalogs and 84 stores and is selling wares in Bloomingdale's and Dillard's. Next: a "health and longevity" catalog. But same-store sales are down, and Sharper Image has lost money in 11 of its last 14 quarters.
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