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Tech toys to tickle the yuppie in you

Circuit City says Sharper Image gadgets will soon be arriving in stores in time for the holidays. The plan is to make yuppie gizmos a permanent fixture at Circuit City stores.

Going yuppie for the holidays, Circuit City announced Thursday that it plans to carry gadgets from The Sharper Image.

Circuit City will have a kiosk in each of its 600 stores featuring about 20 Sharper Image-branded products. Products that Circuit City plans to offer include a $150 motorized CD rack, a $50 superdeluxe corkscrew and a $250 version of Sharper Image's best-selling air purifier.

"We have stores in places where people might have heard of Sharper Image but never actually been able to see their products," said Circuit City spokesman Bill Cimino. "This gives people an opportunity to look at, touch and play with the products."

The move comes after a trial this summer during which Sharper Image gear was placed in a few Circuit City stores. Some stores already stock the products, and all stores should have minifridges and other gear by the end of the month, Cimino said. Though the products' arrival is timed for the holidays, he said the plan is for Sharper Image gear to become a permanent fixture at Circuit City stores.

Sharper Image said the move should help it broaden the appeal of its products, which are primarily sold through catalogs and at its comparatively few Sharper Image retail outlets.

"We've got about 120 stores, and Circuit City has about 600 and is in a lot of markets we don't reach," said Roger Bensinger, senior vice president of business development for The Sharper Image.

The Circuit City deal is not the first time Sharper Image gear has been sold at other stores. Six years ago the company started supplying a small number of products to Bloomingdale's for the holidays, and the company now sells holiday gift-type products to a number of department stores.