Ozer seeks troubled UK retailers

Retail SWAT team Ozer International has set up shop in the UK, joining the growing number of turnaround specialists intent on targeting struggling retailers.

Ozer's arrival in the UK will bring it head-to-head with Gordon Brothers and Hilco, which recently sold the Ciro Citterio menswear chain.

Ozer chief executive Marshall Lester has moved to London to spearhead the recently launched European operation.

Lester, who describes Ozer as a restructuring specialist, believes the demand for services such as valuations, stock disposal and store closures has grown in the UK.

'There's a real role to play in the retail community here,' he said.

Without divulging details, he revealed he is actively looking at deals in the UK. Talks now taking place with two retailers, one clothing and one furniture.

Ozer International has worked with companies including Decathlon and Limited Brands to wind up stores and dispose of stock. It was founded eight years ago by four ex-Gordon Brothers dealmakers, including Ozer International president Stephen Miller.

Lester, a Londoner and pal of Jaeger boss Harold Tillman, has worked for Ozer in the US for eight years. Prior to that he helped launch Diesel and Ben Sherman in the US.