Maplin goes into administration, putting 2,500 UK jobs at risk

Electronics retailer has approximately 200 stores across the UK and Ireland 

Josie Cox
Business Editor
Wednesday 28 February 2018 11:44 GMT
Toys R Us and Maplin collapse into administration

Maplin has become the second major retailer to collapse into administration on Wednesday, putting almost 2,500 jobs at risk and underscoring the pressures faced by shops on the UK's high streets.

Like Toys R Us, which also entered administration on Wednesday putting more than 3,000 jobs on the line, the 40-year old electronics retailer was understood to have been in talks about a potential sale.

Maplin has approximately 200 stores in the UK and Ireland.

"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,” chief executive Graham Harris said.

"During this process Maplin will continue to trade and remains open for business,” he added.

He said that the business had 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,” he said.

Mr Harris said that “macro factors” had been the “principal challenge” to the group, rather than the brand or its market differentiation and that he still believes that "Maplin has a place on the high street" and that the retailer's "trust, credibility and expertise meets a customer need that is not supported elsewhere".

Maplin, which is based in London and Rotherham, said that PwC had been appointed as administrator and that the company would work with the professional services firm to achieve the best possible outcome for staff and stakeholders.

Zelf Hussain, a partner at PwC, said that as administrators’ their initial focus would be to engage with parties who may be interested in buying all or part of the company.

“Staff have been paid their February wages and will continue to be paid for future work while the company is in administration,” he said.

Neil Wilson, a senior market analyst at ETX Capital, said that both in the case of Toys R Us and in the case of Maplin the “Amazon effect is all too clear to see” but that retailers can prosper if they are able to adapt.

“Ultimately this is a necessary shakeout of some pretty out-dated retailers, which though terrible for those affected by job losses, is likely to mean a leaner, fitter retail market and a more productive use of capital,” Mr Wilson said. “The question is whether there are more out there that could by the wayside.”

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