Wednesday, February 28, 2018

News: Rotherham-based retailer Maplin enters administration

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Rotherham-based electronics retailer, Maplin, has collapsed into administration, putting around 2,500 jobs at risk.

Manvers-based Maplin sells a range of products to tech-savvy hobbyists as well as general consumers and operates from 217 stores.

Maplin was sold for £85m to current owners Rutland Partners in 2014 and recent media reports warned that the owners wanted to secure new investors to save the business.

Graham Harris, who became chief executive only last month, said: "I can confirm this morning that it has not been possible to secure a solvent sale of the business and as a result we now have no alternative but to enter into an administration process. During this process Maplin will continue to trade and remains open for business.

"The business has worked hard over recent months to mitigate a combination of impacts from sterling devaluation post Brexit, a weak consumer environment and the withdrawal of credit insurance. This necessitated an intensive search for new capital that in current market conditions has proved impossible to raise. These macro factors have been the principal challenge not the Maplin brand or its market differentiation.

"We believe passionately that Maplin has a place on the high street, and that our trust, credibility and expertise meets a customer need that is not supported elsewhere.

"We will now work tirelessly alongside Zelf Hussain, Toby Underwood and Ian Green, from PWC, who have been appointed as the as Joint Administrators of Maplin Electronics Limited, to achieve the best possible outcome for all of our colleagues and stakeholders."

Eversheds Sutherland is advising PwC. The legal firm was involved on the 2014 sale to Rutland. Montagu Private Equity bought the business for a reported £244m in 2004.

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For the year ending 31 March 2017, turnover at the electronics chain increased to £235.8m from £234.6m in the previous year. Earnings before tax (EBITDA) was recorded at £8.9m, down from £12.7m and pre tax losses widened from £2.1m in 2015/16 to £3.9m for 2016/17.

Recent initiatives include a new website, a focus on support and installation services and a link up with GAME over concession space. Maplin said it saw strong trading over 2017 Black Friday with sales up 5% year-on-year including its biggest ever trading day in digital.

However, Christmas trading was below expectations and credit insurers have been cutting their exposure to the company.

Launched by two technology enthusiasts in 1972 who were frustrated by the lack of good quality electronics components, Maplin Electronics became the experts' choice, with a reputation for the best product range and expertise.

Founded in Essex, Roger Allen and Doug Simmons remained in their full-time jobs for two years, and the company didn't make a profit. In 2008 the firm moved to a 220,000 sq ft state of the art distribution centre and head office at Manvers in Rotherham.

Last year, the firm transferred operations and now has a "front office" of the commercial, marketing, ecommerce and digital function based together in London, with a "back office" of the HR, ļ¬nance, IT, warehouse and distribution and contact centre functions based in Rotherham.

Maplin website

Images: Maplin

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