'SWAT' team moves in

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The Independent Online

Gordon Brothers, an American retail undertaker which takes unwanted stocks from distressed companies, is preparing to take advantage of Britain's struggling high-street chains and e-tailers.

Gordon Brothers, an American retail undertaker which takes unwanted stocks from distressed companies, is preparing to take advantage of Britain's struggling high-street chains and e-tailers.

The company, based in Boston, Massachusetts, is planning a high-profile launch on this side of the Atlantic later this month. In particular, it is hoping to exploit the cash-strapped internet retailers eager to raise funds by selling their inventories. Many of these companies are new to retailing and their limited experience has led to overstocking.

Asset redeployment, as the business is euphemistically known in the US, is well established in America but relatively unknown over here. Gordon Brothers, which has been in operation since 1903, has been described as a "SWAT team" because of its ability to clear up messy situations created when companies fall on hard times.

It has set up a website, retailexchange.com, to link companies wanting either to buy or sell unwanted stocks.

Gordon Brothers has already made its first foray here by buying the entire stock of six stores and three factory outlets belonging to the Bhs chain.

Bhs, which was recently acquired by entrepreneur Philip Green from Storehouse, owner of Mothercare, is one of a number of failing high street chains. It is typical of the type of struggling retailer that finds the assistance of asset redeployment companies invaluable.

Last month, Arcadia, Britain's second biggest clothing retailer, announced plans to axe its Principles for Men chain and close 400 high street stores.

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