Wednesday, October 10, 2018

News: Inside Maplin's massive empty warehouse


It served over 200 stores and thousands of online customers with 44,000 different gadgets and electronic products, but now the former Maplin warehouse in Rotherham sits eerily empty after the plug was pulled on the retailer.

After a slowdown in sales and declining profits, the firm plunged into administration in February, putting around 2,500 jobs at risk.

Based at Manvers, Maplin sold a range of products to tech-savvy hobbyists as well as general consumers. In 2008 it moved to a 220,000 sq ft state of the art distribution centre and head office on Brookfield's Park.

The building is owned by Ascendas Reit, Singapore's first and largest listed business space and industrial real estate investment trust. It was previously acquired in 2014 in a £15.1m deal.


CBRE and Knight Frank have now been instructed to find a new tenant for the property. The brochure show rows and rows of empty racks and shelves.

Mike Baugh, senior director for the industrial team at CBRE Leeds, said: "We are delighted to be working with Ascendas Reit on this significant warehouse facility.

"Brookfields 200 is ideal for occupiers looking to take advantage of a fully fitted warehouse close to a plentiful and economic labour pool, in a location which allows excellent communications across Yorkshire and the UK."

Rebecca Schofield, partner and head of Knight Frank's Yorkshire industrial team, added: "Brookfields Park is ideally located in the popular Sheffield city region which is experiencing an increase in attracting manufacturing and logistics operations and thanks to its location, with superb transport infrastructure to the A1 and M1, means that it is ideally positioned for business, locally, nationally and internationally. The buoyant labour market offers a wide range of skills for potential employees."

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.

It was sold for £85m to Rutland Partners in 2014. Montagu Private Equity bought the business for a reported £244m in 2004.

In the early days in Essex, founders, Roger Allen and Doug Simmons, remained in their full-time jobs for two years, and the company didn't make a profit. For the year ending 31 March 2017, turnover at the electronics chain increased to £235.8m but pre tax losses widened to £3.9m.


In 2016 a reorganisation saw 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.

No buyers for the firm could be found and all branches ceased trading in June. The firm's IP was sold for £800,000, reportedly to Dragon's Den star, Peter Jones, according to The Register.

Images: Knight Frank


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