WOODLAND HILLS, Calif.--()--GA Europe™, a subsidiary of Great American Group, Inc. (OTCBB: GAMR), has been appointed by Administrator Deloitte to manage the Comet chain of electronics stores, which went into Administration on Nov. 2.
“On-going structural changes in the sector, fragile consumer confidence and a very tough lending climate are likely to sustain these levels in 2013”
In addition to managing the store operations and implementing a stock liquidation program, GA Europe is conducting ROT (retention of title) negotiations with suppliers as well as buying in new stock for the business.
“With 236 stores and in the region of GBP135million ($216 million US) of stock, Comet is the highest profile retail administration in the UK since Woolworths in 2008,” said Gavin George, chief executive officer of GA Europe, “GA Europe’s appointment to manage the business in administration underlines our growing reputation as the UK’s leading retail restructuring firm.”
To date, a total of 40 stores have had to close, with further closures expected over the coming weeks unless a buyer is found for the business. According to representatives from Deloitte, discussions are underway with companies who have expressed interest in parts of the business.
Comet filed for Administration almost a year after private investment firm OpCapita bought the business. It is the latest casualty in a highly active UK retail restructuring market.
“On-going structural changes in the sector, fragile consumer confidence and a very tough lending climate are likely to sustain these levels in 2013,” George said. “We believe UK retail is probably two years into a five-year period of rebalancing which will result in a 15 to 20 percent decline in non-food physical space.”
For more information about asset disposition, valuation and appraisal services available through Great American Group or GA Europe, visit the company’s website at www.greatamerican.com.
About Great American Group, Inc. (OTCBB: GAMR)
Great American Group is a leading provider of asset disposition and auction solutions, advisory and valuation services, capital investment, and real estate advisory services for an extensive array of companies. A trusted strategic partner at every stage of the business lifecycle, Great American Group efficiently deploys resources with sector expertise to assist companies, lenders, capital providers, private equity investors and professional service firms in maximizing the value of their assets. The company has in-depth experience within the retail, industrial, real estate, healthcare, energy and technology industries. The corporate headquarters is located in Woodland Hills, Calif. with additional offices in Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, N.C., Chicago, Dallas, New York, San Francisco and London. For more information, call (818) 884-3737 or visit www.greatamerican.com.
About GA Europe
GA Europe is a wholly owned subsidiary of the publicly listed Great American Group Inc. New to the European market in 2010, it is fast developing a compelling track record in solving challenging retail situations, operating in partnership with retailers, private equity sponsors, financial stakeholders, corporate lenders and their professional advisors. GA Europe’s services focus on valuing retail assets, lending to retailers and ‘working out’ complex distressed situations, often by taking senior investment positions.
Since 2010, GA Europe has completed approximately 15 transactions including:
- July 2012: Acquired the debt in value retailer Ashloch (trading as Ethel Austin), subsequently restructuring the business before a large part of the business was sold to trade player Liric.
- May 2012: Supported a management buyout of footwear retailer Shoon from Administration by providing funding for working capital and delivering operational support to the business. GA Europe also took a minority equity stake
- July 2011: Acquired the debt of TJ Hughes, a 56-strong value department store chain. The business was restructured with a significant part of the chain being sold to trade player Benross Group.
Other recent engagements include advisory deals on Game Group, Fenn Wright Manson, Bonmarché, and Jane Norman, and deals in Germany and Italy with Wehmeyer Lifestyle and Blockbuster Italia, respectively.