Brookstone Succumbs to the Sharper Image Flu

Travel wear on sale at a Brookstone Inc. store in New York on April 2 Photograph by Craig Warga/Bloomberg

Brookstone, that gadget retailer you see at the airport but never shop, has filed for bankruptcy protection as it negotiated a deal to sell itself. The retailer, which offers $4,600 massage chairs and a $300 “mobile pocket projector,” appears to have succumbed to the same retail woes that toppled Sharper Image in 2008. That company closed after more than three decades of selling expensive massage chairs and air purifiers, felled by the deep recession that made consumers much more conscious about their spending—spelling doom for merchants of purely discretionary stuff.

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