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Sharper Image Dims

The beleaguered retailer has filed for bankruptcy court protection and will close nearly half its stores nationwide

More than three years of losses finally caught up to Sharper Image (SHRP), the gadgets retailer that saw its fortunes dip after a disastrous legal battle involving the effectiveness of its signature air purifier.

As recently as last fall, Sharper Image dismissed notions that it was headed for bankruptcy, despite the rejection of a settlement in a consumers' suit over the air purifier and a steep slide in its share price. "The only way we would go bankrupt is if we run out of money (, 10/19/07)," Chairman Jerry Levin told BusinessWeek in October. That's apparently what happened.