back to article PwC: More redundos at HQ of UK 'leccy stuff shop Maplin

PwC’s Maplin Electronics’ administration team has laid off another bunch of hapless souls from head office as the protracted - and some might say doomed - search for a buyer to rescue the retailer runs on. Some 57 redundancies were made at HQ in London and nine in Rotherham, taking the total to 129 since Maplin was placed in …

  1. }{amis}{
    Thumb Down

    Bummer....

    I went into the Bristol Cribbs Causeway branch at the weekend to see if i could score a deal.

    Even with a 20+ Percent discount Maplin looked like crap value compared to the online shops.

    who is gonna pay £10+ for a basic cable unless they are desperate? the entire business model is moribund, I expect that a lot of similar retailers will follow soon enough.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bummer....

      Whilst I detest Amazon it is probable that their plans for world domination and ultrafast delivery services will plug that final hole left by Maplin. If the cable you desperately need is guaranteed to arrive in just a couple of hours there ceases to be any reason to visit a local store and pay to support them. Though once they are all gone Amazon will start to make you pay through the nose for the expedited delivery.

      1. Chloe Cresswell

        Re: Bummer....

        First they need delivery in a couple of hours? It's minimum 24 hours where I am, and even that often turns into "order for tuesday" "delivery confirmed for wednesday" :(

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Bummer....

          even that often turns into "order for tuesday" "delivery confirmed for wednesday"

          Same here. Amazon have a bad habit of over promising and under delivering, so now things have to be desperate before I'll chance the extra cost of an Amazon next day promise. Everything else can go with the "free delivery when we get round to it".

          1. G R Goslin

            Re: Bummer....

            I've no problems with Amazon, per se. When they say "delivery tomorrow", then it comes tomorrow. What I think is confusing people, is that much that apparently comes from Amazon, is in fact shipped and supplied from stores which have no logistical connection to Amazon. So, it's not Amazon who are saying "tomorrow", it's some trader that thinks thay you will be satisfied with a lie.

            1. Richard 12 Silver badge

              Re: Bummer....

              The "Amazon Marketplace" sellers are really damaging Amazon's reputation.

              Especially since some of them started being "Prime", yet not "Fulfilled by Amazon".

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bummer....

      "who is gonna pay £10+ for a basic cable"

      Bricks and Mortar shops have become their own worst enemy, seemingly telling customers they won't even get out of bed unless you pay them a minimum of £10 for a 50p part.

      No wonder online is putting them out of business.

      1. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

        Re: Bummer....

        ...Bricks and Mortar shops have become their own worst enemy, seemingly telling customers they won't even get out of bed unless you pay them a minimum of £10 for a 50p part....

        It's not that they won't, but they can't.

        Regulation and commercial rates now cost so much that shops are forced to price goods this high. It's the 'cost' of having a Brick and Mortar store that you pay for. This is the greed of politicians who thought that they could keep extracting money from a captive structure coming back to bite them....

    3. paulf
      Unhappy

      Re: Bummer....

      I went into my local store on Saturday to see what their "deals" were like on writeable DVDs (the only thing I used to buy there to avoid them being regularly mangled by Amazon logistics). Caketin of 25*8.5GB DVD DL = £35 which became £28 after the closing down 20% off. Quick sanity check on Amazon: £23.50 for exactly the same branded stuff. I would have stomached £25 (including have it now premium) but I left empty handed. Kudos to the staff though who remained polite and friendly despite staring down the barrel of redundancy.

      [Edit: ISTR the Comet closing down sale was the same - even with the Manic Street Preachers discount they were still more expensive than other places and you wouldn't have anywhere to go back to when your new gadget went wrong]

    4. Simon 4

      Re: Bummer....

      The suggestion was made in a comment on a Maplin story a week or so ago.

      Maplin is in deep doodoo because they no longer fill a need. You can buy, better, newer and cheaper from any number of outlets - whether it’s Amazon, Ebay or even Tesco.

      But the suggestion which I think could have some success for Maplin would be to turn the stores into hacking/making spaces. You need an arduino controller? A stepper motor? No problem, we can sell one to you right now.

      My nephew wants to learn how to code. I never learned, so I’m not a great teacher. There are no coding clubs near us, but there are several Maplin branches. We would happily pay for coding lessons or to make a robot in their space.

      There is clearly a total lack of imagination with Maplin’s owners, management and administrators.

      On a related subject - with all the fast casual restaurants closing down (like Prezzo) what nobody is saying is the reason for such poor performance: lousy management.

      Recent trip to a nearby Prezzo, the heating was broken. When it was just above freezing outside. The heating has been playing up at that same branch for YEARS.

      Guess what.... the area manager works out of a different branch. Because if he worked in the cold one, it would have been fixed by now. They treat customers badly, don’t know how to give out free ice for drinks and practice the most onerous portion control imaginable.

      They may have too many branches, but there is nobody LEADING the business. They have no idea about looking after customers. The same lack of care is repeated in EVERY branch.

      But this is what happens when the founder of a business leaves or dies and it’s sold to private equity. No vision. No leadership. Just asset stripping.

      1. smartroad

        Re: Bummer....

        I have said the same. I used to work for Maplin back in the early 00's. I remember the store being filled with electronic components and other rare and exotic items. Not trash plastic toys that can be brought literally anywhere else for less.

        Maplin dropped back more and more on the component/electronics side until you have shops with token gestures. It is a shame as they could have led the maker community as hacker spaces with the chance to buy the stuff you need to make it with. Offered 3D printing services, laser cutting and CNC milling.

        They fell victim to the "Woolworths Syndrome" where they lost sight of their core market, tried to do everything and got to the point where people didn't know why they would go to the stores.

  2. DJV Silver badge

    heads

    "made no comment about the fate awaiting the 2,000 plus heads employed across the group"

    Yeah, but what about the fate of their bodies?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: heads

      Well, judging by the accounts, they won't have a leg to stand on

      1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?
        Joke

        Re: heads

        Well, judging by the accounts, they won't have a leg to stand on

        That is, hands down, the worst body pun ever

        1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

          Re: heads

          That is, hands down, the worst body pun ever

          I dunno - I've had to stomach worse.

    2. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: heads

      Yeah, but what about the fate of their bodies?

      I assume they'll be given the elbow

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: heads

        But who will foot the bill?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: heads

          All a knee jerk reaction.

  3. Snorlax

    At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

    I was in Ireland over the weekend and happened to be passing a Maplin shop so I went in to see if there were any bargains. Yeah yeah, I know...what was I thinking?

    First aisle I walked down had a 40m CAT6 cable (A11WL) for just €79.99 (which I think is about £70 these days).

    The same cable is £29.99 on maplin.co.uk and €47.99 on maplin.ie :rolleyes:

    Or a 8Tb WD MyCloud €330 including discount. Nope

    1. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

      While that is shocking, pubs in Ireland also charging over €5 for a pint of Guinness and they seem to think it's alright.

      So if you look at the prices of goods as "how many pints of Guinness" instead of the cost, well you'd never buy anything. You'd just get drunk.

      1. Snorlax

        Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

        Quite an unoriginal shitpost, if I may say so.

        Irish people drink Guinness? Next you'll tell me they like potatoes...

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

          "Quite an unoriginal shitpost, if I may say so.

          Irish people drink Guinness? Next you'll tell me they like potatoes..."

          They do. Except in Cork where they drink Murphy's, as for every pint of Guinness you drink you put a Cork man out of a job. You'd do well to Google my name.

          And as for costs, £3.50, at the most £4 is what should be charged for a pint of Guinness.

          1. Snorlax

            Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

            @wolfetone:"And as for costs, £3.50, at the most £4 is what should be charged for a pint of Guinness."

            You won't have heard of a thing called 'tax' then, or understand that two separate countries might have different rates of taxation applied to things like pints of Guinness? Booze has always been cheaper in the UK - please tell me more things I already know...

            1. wolfetone Silver badge

              Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

              "You won't have heard of a thing called 'tax' then, or understand that two separate countries might have different rates of taxation applied to things like pints of Guinness? Booze has always been cheaper in the UK - please tell me more things I already know..."

              You're an arse?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

        How many euros do you think a guiness should cost? In London, they are well over €5 a pint

      3. Martin Summers

        Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

        "While that is shocking, pubs in Ireland also charging over €5 for a pint of Guinness and they seem to think it's alright."

        I think that's quite reasonable for a meal in a glass!

        1. GruntyMcPugh

          Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

          'meal in a glass',... dehydrated Guinness byproducts in a trendy metallic pouch, Millennials who think they are too busy for lunch would love that. Just add in some monthly subscription so they are planning to fail at making time for lunch weeks in advance, and you've got something.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: At least Dick Turpin wore a mask...

      That 8TB drive is actually £10-20 cheaper online than the competitors. I suppose it's really about what they can scalp and what they cannot.

      Also, AFAIK, retail really depends on what deals they can make with suppliers. Sometimes Tesco/big brand names can get deals with really big brand names, like Apple etc. But rarely do the little shops, and I'd expect Maplin to have all discounts/rebates now removed as suppliers don't want them defaulting on paying them!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You do realise.....

    Administrators are not in the business of making products cheaper....

    They will have closing down "Sales" that will price the items as high as the market can take it....

    Maplin is one of a few stores to have ALWAYS been overpriced - even before Amazon, etc.....I have absolutely no idea how/why they got so big in the first place...I guess with the transition of the UK version of RadioShack (Tandy) into CarPhone Warehouse and the ditching of all bits and bobs, it kindof handed them the market.

    The thing is that the majority of stuff is about 40-50% overpriced and always have been, the closing down sale is 10-50% off (mostly all around the 30% mark for the stores Ive been in).

    Once the administrators have managed to sell what they can to folks with more money than sence....then they might consolidate items into a few stores and flog them for below fair market price. However, they are duty bound to the creditors (investors) to get as much mullah as possible.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You do realise.....

      I must be doing something right!!

      1 Thumbs down already!!!!

    2. Richard 12 Silver badge

      Re: You do realise.....

      Back in the day Maplin was pretty good value for the times when "I need this today or tomorrow".

      Most people are willing to pay quite a bit more for that - but it only works if the local shop has stock. The moment it needs delivering anywhere...

      Then they stopped doing components and started selling tat that nobody needs at short notice, and that the "kids toyshop" next door sells for half the price.

      I don't think any former customers are surprised that didn't work.

      Comet screwed up in much the same way.

    3. AlbertH

      Re: You do realise.....

      I've offered PwC £50 for the component stocks. I think that's pretty generous!

    4. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: You do realise.....

      @AC I don't recall them being overpriced in the 80's, they were one of the few places you could buy certain things. RS, Mullard or Farnell were mail order mostly (unless you lived near one of their few outlets). Maplin were certainly cheaper for electronics components than Tandy. The rot set in when Maplin became Tandy. (although I have fond memories of the quarterly Tandy newsletter, usually with some free offer voucher on the wrapper. I still have a small set of electrical screwdrivers I got sometime in the early eighties, it has pride of place on one of my tool shelves. Plus there was the 'free battery club' which was a godsend, PP9 batteries were pricey on my modest earnings from being a Saturday lad at Woolworths )

      1. RichCJ

        Re: You do realise.....

        Hit the nail on the head there! I used Maplin in the early 90s when they only had about 5 stores and most business was done by mail order. Components were super cheap. A simple switch in Tandy was often £2.50 whereas at Maplin it was usually something like 19p.

        Then they started opening more stores, but the prices were still a lot cheaper, even if they'd risen a fair bit. when Tandy finally went belly up, that was it. Prices at Maplin rocketed and like so many others before them, they failed to see or react to the obvious threat from Amazon & co.

        I needed a simple 3.6mm to 6.4mm phono adapter a few years ago. Went to maplin and they wanted £2.79! Amazon had them for approx 45p and it arrived next day (a sunday).

        They should have closed a bunch of stores long ago and gone back to what they did best, providing components at low prices. Last time I needed some LEDs, it was cheaper to buy a box of fairy lights from Poundland rather than pay over £1 per LED!

        They used to have some ace catalogue covers though...dragons & oil refineries...

  5. Chozo
    Childcatcher

    Jokes aside, its passing fills me with twinge of childhood nostalgia. I still have copies of R.A. Penfolds little paperbacks: Test Equipment & Advanced Test Equipment Construction.

  6. whatsyourShtoile
    Thumb Up

    delicious soylent

    The 200 stores are in prime locations to become Soylent bars, and the staff could become Soylent.

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: delicious soylent

      Keep your Solyent away from the Solent. We don't want any of that new fangled namby-pamby stuff down 'ere. We prefers our Guinness and real ales.

  7. fedoraman
    Unhappy

    The Ende

    I went into my local branch at the weekend. The Game section of the store had completely gone, even the shelves. The rest had discounts ranging from 20% to 50%. And strangely, all the stuff I wanted was either gone, or only 20% discounted. All the worthwhile tools, soldering irons, components, power supplies, all of the computer parts except RGB lights and cases - gone. All the arduino, pi and related stuff - gone. What remained told a tale, of stuff that no-one wanted, certainly not at those prices. Strangely, the three lads on the till seemed upbeat, but they didn't seem to be the usual Saturday staff.

    What a sad way to go.

    1. Headley_Grange Silver badge

      Re: The Ende

      Maplin's finally the shop it should have been. I went in a couple of weeks ago; the staff didn't pester me with hellos and I managed to stock up on self amalgamating tape, PP9 batteries, freezer spray and a couple of diecast boxes at prices that were close enough to reasonable.

  8. SquidEmperor

    Well I got a deal :)

    Not a massive saving by any means but I think the only time I've ever bought something at Maplin and got a price that matched online. I got a samsung T5 250 GB SSD FOR £100. And a printer refill (HP) which matched online prices. Literally the only time in 20 years I've bought Maplin and felt vaguely pleased. Sorry for the staff and so on but it was inevitable.

    I look forward to the replies telling me where I could have got it for £60 :(

  9. Chronos

    sed -e 's/tat bazaar/'leccy stuff shop/'

    Land shark attack? At this late stage when world+dog+fleas+bacteria in gut of fleas knows that anything of value Maplin brought to the table is long lost in the midst of time?

    World's gone mad.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Something about retailers ?????

    Back in 2015, I snaffled an espresso/cappuccino maker at a discount.

    Decided I wanted to make cappuccino, so needed a milk frothing thermometer.

    Selfridges, Debenhams, John Lewis, local cookshop, Lakeland, and *all* supermarket "kitchen" sections all came up "you what ?"

    £3.99 and next day delivery from Amazon. Thank you very much.

    Saturday it broke. Out of curiosity, I googled and discovered that Currys now "stocked" it. Since I was in Sainsburys next to a Currys, I popped in ... not in stock but I could order of their website.

    Instead I ordered off Amazon and it was delivered 14 hours later.

    For the life of me, I can't understand why nowhere thinks to stock an item which takes up fuck all space, costs fuck all, and which any half decent salesman could shift 2 off for every coffee machine they shift ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Something about retailers ?????

      For the life of me, I can't understand why nowhere thinks to stock an item which takes up fuck all space, costs fuck all, and which any half decent salesman could shift 2 off for every coffee machine they shift ?

      More like one for every hundred coffee machines.

      I respect your obsession, but most people just buy a milk frothing jug that heats and froths. Fifteen quid from Aldi for mine, works perfectly, every time.

      1. Chz

        Re: Something about retailers ?????

        I know it's dipping into coffee snobbery a bit (a bit?!), but the type of foam you get from one of those jugs is not the same as you'd get from a steam wand. It makes an okay cappuccino, but a dreadful flat white.

    2. G R Goslin

      Re: Something about retailers ?????

      Why on Earth would you want to froth milk? And for that matter, why would you want to put it into coffee, frothed or not?

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Some people like cow juice

        There's no accounting for taste.

        *Sips a cappuccino at 20:30 because to hell with common decency*

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Something about retailers ?????

        Why on Earth would you want to froth milk? And for that matter, why would you want to put it into coffee, frothed or not?

        "WHOOOP! WHOOOP! Alert! Alert! Black real-coffee fundamentalist at 4 o'clock! Fire at will!"

        "Permission to deploy the Nespresso machine with aftermarket capsules sir?"

        "Permission granted, that'll show the stubbly bean sniffing bastard no mercy. If the machine jams or you run out of capsules, throw the machine, it'll be a like chucking a cross at a vampire"

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Something about retailers ?????

          Ledswinger,

          Thanks !!!

          "Black real-coffee fundamentalist " is now added to my CV. :)

          P.S.

          If you should ever take a fancy to coffee ..... one day .... do try 'Real-coffee' you will be surprised. :)

          Nespresso et al are just ways to make everywhere smell like you drink coffee without having to make 'real coffee'.

          A sort of Volatile oil based 'Air Freshener' that only has coffee as the available scent. :)

          <Drinks last of cup of 'Real Coffee' then ducks & runs> :)

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Something about retailers ?????

            "Black real-coffee fundamentalist " is now added to my CV. :)

            Maybe that could have been worded better, but as it is your CV will now fly through any filters for "positive discrimination", and you'll be guaranteed an interview. Though "fundamentalist" has perhaps the wrong connotations, so maybe style yourself a black real-coffee evangelist?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why on Earth would you want to froth milk?

        personally, I enjoy tea lattes.

        And no cow juice for me. Oatley Barista edition is the DBs .....

    3. GruntyMcPugh

      Re: Something about retailers ?????

      "stock an item which takes up fuck all space"

      So I had a similar experience recently....I needed a CR2016 battery for my car fob, Maplin were always too expensive for these, the pound shop had run out, so I swerved by Sainsbury's / Argos as they are now the same venue. Argos didn't have stock, but they could be ordered in for next day(seriously, is it worth picking and transporting a pack of batteries for a few quid?) but Sainsbury's had them on the shelf,....

      .. and this reminds me, my little battery powered milk frothing whisk effort died.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "concerns over its debts owed to private equity parent, Rutland Partners"

    As soon as a private equity firm buys a company, it is only a matter of time before they've sucked all the equity from that company and then they shut it down.

    1. The Boojum

      Re: "concerns over its debts owed to private equity parent, Rutland Partners"

      You could say that all the equity becomes private and all the staff become public.

  12. Franco Silver badge

    I went in to my local shop last week to pick up some Eddystone enclosures. Don't really need any, but I use them for building guitar effects and they aren't cheap so thought I'd get them reduced.

    15 in stock according to the website. None in store for several weeks according to the shop staff, who also suggested that I was not the first person to come in based on online stock levels only to leave disappointed. Of course, that feeling of disappointment only gave me deja vu leaving a Maplin store.....

  13. steviebuk Silver badge

    The only decent deal in my local store....

    ...and I'm no expert, looks like a DJI Phantom 4 Bundle for £758.40. It dropped £200 in the space of 2 days. Thought it would of gone at the weekend but it was still there today.

    However, now looking online it looks like it's not the Pro version meaning it was already overpriced at £949 and they've now just dropped it to the price it is on other online stores.

    Oh dear.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The only decent deal in my local store....

      You thought it would HAVE gone.

      FFS.

  14. steviebuk Silver badge

    Have you been living under a rock?

    I heard a customer ask at the counter the other day while I wondered around the store looking at everything still overpriced, say "What's going on here then? Are they in financial trouble". The staff member wasn't sure if it was a wide up, then proceeded to inform them "Well yeah, they've gone bankrupt".

  15. Delbert

    Chief Rival May Not Be Amazon

    Probably the biggest hole in the leaky ship that is Maplins business model is Poundland seriously would you buy an identical 1 metre USB micro cable for £9.09 when you could but nine for the same money?

    1. fedoraman

      Re: Chief Rival May Not Be Amazon

      I did have one of Poundland's micro-usb cables start to smoke, when it shorted out. The phone was on charge, and I was also talking on it. Suddenly, as I'm chatting, I can smell smoke (cos the melting connector is right under my nose)... the I can *see* smoke, rising past my face.

      The phone call ended quite abruptly at that point.

      Cheap cable carrying charge-level currents: at your peril, mate.

  16. se99paj

    Picked up a cheaper NAS

    Although Maplin are pretty well known for being over priced, there are some savings to be had, I've just ordered a new NAS that is about £20 cheaper than anywhere else, its collection only and the last one in the store but can't complain

    1. Arachnoid

      Re: Picked up a cheaper NAS

      Anywhere else will still be open if it fails under warrenty is your £20 really that important to you?.....

      Tandy/Maplin on the odd time Ive been into these stores over the years is a tad like going into Sportsdirect much ado about nothing and overpriced tat with more staff than customers.

  17. Tom 7 Silver badge

    To be fair

    A Maplin shop could largely have been replaced by a pick and place machine placing the desired items in a bag for you. In fact once you get rid of the plastic and display items you could probably do it in a transit van and do deliveries to customers and still be cheaper than Maplin.

    1. Buzzby
      Headmaster

      Re: To be unfair

      I recently went to my local Maplin's looking for any deals. Printer inks grabbed my attention. I can use Epson TO715 sets. Maplins £61 less 10%, Tesco, PC World about £55, Asda down to £37 from £44, even cheaper on the net, no, brainer really.

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