(Ian Ritter is national online editor for GlobeSt.com/RETAIL.)

NORTHBROOK, IL-Strategic-services Hilco Organization has formed a retail group designed to acquire stressed–but not distressed retailers in North America. Dollar wise, no deal is likely too large for newly created Hilco Retail Acquisitions, Richard Kaye, an executive vice president of its parent company, says.

Hilco Retail will look for companies that have attractive assets and large store counts but are unable to compete in the market because of financial constraints. “Our goal is to restructure and hold,” Kaye says, “and at some point there could be a liquidation. Our goal is not to buy and flip.”

Michael Lynch, the former chief executive officer of Kmart Canada, will head the new venture. After a 30-year career with Kmart, Lynch joined Hilco’s already existing retail-disposition unit, as chief operating officer, in 2000. Four years later he was promoted to head the firm’s retail inventory appraisal specialty practice group.

The Hilco Organization is no stranger to big retail deals. Last year it acquired, in a joint venture, 74 Karstadt department stores in Germany for just over 400 million euros. It has also invested in such retailers at Bargain Shop!, Littlewoods and Texstyle World.

Hilco Real Estate, another entity in the organization, helps retailers dispose of stores in their portfolios. That part of the firm has worked with Bally Total Fitness, Sears, Walgreens, the Wet Seal and other large chains.

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