UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > General Vintage Technology > Where To Get Sets and Parts

Notices

Where To Get Sets and Parts For discussions about swapmeets, rallies, NVCF and BVWS, car boot sales, antique and charity shops, dealers, newspaper adverts, the local tip and just about any other source of equipment (other than eBay).

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 1st Mar 2018, 2:25 pm   #181
G8HQP Dave
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Solihull, West Midlands, UK.
Posts: 4,330
Default Re: Maplin stores

Whenever a shop closes the usual pundits pop up and say 'online sales have done this'. There is of course an element of truth in this, but in some cases it is not that people prefer to buy online but that they have found it impossible to buy on the High Street. Lots of items which we know are made are either not stocked or poorly stocked in shops, and in most cases nowadays you cannot get any useful advice in a shop. I would like to look and feel something in a shop, weigh up whether it will do the job I have in mind, and ask the shopkeeper what he knows about it (beyond merely reading the sales tag - which is what happened in PC World). Maybe someone should re-open some Maplins, but run like John Lewis rather than Woolworths?
G8HQP Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 3:40 pm   #182
Welsh Anorak
Dekatron
 
Welsh Anorak's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: North Wales, UK.
Posts: 3,745
Default Re: Maplin stores

Odd how things go round. I first used Maplin in the Seventies, and can almost remember my account number! Mail order of course and they were an excellent go-to place for all the bits and pieces a teenage hobbyist could need. Plus all sorts of useful projects - burglar alarms, audio mixers and a useful peak meter I used in audio recording. Then came the shops and their identity crisis. And they are closing because people are buying things on the internet - today's equivalent of mail order!
I've used them recently when doing a job and it didn't matter whether the connector I needed was 5p or 5 - it got the job done.
I imagine the internet arm of Maplin will keep going - recently had a couple of toroidal transformers from them at a competitive price.
Glyn
Welsh Anorak is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 4:37 pm   #183
Paul Stenning
Administrator
 
Paul Stenning's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Cardiff
Posts: 6,979
Default Re: Maplin stores

Four off-topic posts about 'scope probes deleted. Feel free to start a new thread in the test equipment section to discuss these.
__________________

Paul Stenning
Forum Admin/Owner and BVWS Committee Member
Paul Stenning is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 4:51 pm   #184
G8HQP Dave
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Solihull, West Midlands, UK.
Posts: 4,330
Default Re: Maplin stores

If the internet arm of Maplin is to keep going it will need a new website. Other retailers can be almost as bad, so google is the best way to navigate their site. Why is it that on many sites 1k and 1k2 resistors are separate pages, rather than a menu selection on one page? It suggests they bought a cheap off-the-shelf retail website package where every item is assumed to be unrelated to any other item. Simple for the computer programmer to bash out some SQL, but bad for the poor customer.

My next gripe is why I should have to search carefully through datasheets to discover how this capacitor at 50p differs from that capacitor at 45p (same dielectric, same ratings, similar construction, in some cases same maker). Why doesn't the catalogue tell me, at least in outline?

This is not entirely off-topic, as retailer survival depends on things like this.
G8HQP Dave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 5:08 pm   #185
cmjones01
Octode
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Warsaw, Poland and Cambridge, UK
Posts: 1,787
Default Re: Maplin stores

I do miss the Maplin of old, and I miss what the shops could have been. As a schoolboy in the 1980s, the release of each year's new Maplin catalogue was eagerly awaited. They went to great lengths to make mail order easy and reliable, with standardised order codes and order forms, so there was little chance of error. They were quick, too. Maplin was basically the best and most affordable way for us to get good quality components. We patronised the local electronics shop too (which, as I write, is still in business) but for a different selection of parts.

I remember making special trips to Maplin shops, in such exotic locations as Southampton and Edgware, and the excitement of being able to see and handle all these things which had hitherto only been grainy pictures in the catalogue. I remember buying my first white LEDs some time in the mid-90s, for about 5 each. That led to me, some years later, starting a business making bike lights.

Now the 'maker' world of hobby electronics is bigger than it ever was in the 1980s. Maplin should probably have been what Adafruit and its peers are now. My last trips to Maplin shops have been disappointing. I don't mind paying a premium for goods I can have in my hand right now. But I wanted a particular USB hub. The going rate on line is a few pounds. I'd have happily paid 15. But 30? On this occasion, I found a way of doing without. It wasn't worth the money - and this was an urgent business purchase.

Hopefully any new owner will see the opportunity the Maplin brand presents. Lots of the shop locations are probably too expensive to run, but the market the company used to serve 30 years ago is still there, in a newer form. I'd love it to be the place my children will turn to for Micro:bits, BeagleBones, robotics parts, and all the accessories that go with them. But perhaps I'm just being nostalgic.

Chris
__________________
What's going on in the workshop? http://martin-jones.com/
cmjones01 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 5:16 pm   #186
electronicskip
Heptode
 
electronicskip's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Gloucester, Glos. UK.
Posts: 699
Default Re: Maplin stores

If Jessops can be reborn as it has been ,then so can Maplins.
I truly believe there is still a place for them on the high street ,not just as a faceless internet site.
electronicskip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 6:42 pm   #187
bluepilot
Hexode
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Duffort, Gers, France
Posts: 386
Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by cmjones01 View Post
Lots of the shop locations are probably too expensive to run, but the market the company used to serve 30 years ago is still there, in a newer form.
Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, for many reasons it's much cheaper to sell stuff on line. A couple of years ago we needed a new dishwasher. There was a shop, part of a chain, around the corner that I had bought stuff from for many years. In the meantime the chain had a website and so I looked online to see what was available. I wanted to support the shop so I found what we were looking for on the website, printed out the relevant page and then went to the shop to order the dishwasher. For the shop, the quoted price was the wholesale price. They expected me to pay a few hundred pounds more. The result was that I bought online. In the meantime the shop has disappeared.
__________________
Stuart

The golden age is always yesterday - Asa Briggs
bluepilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 6:59 pm   #188
Scimitar
Hexode
 
Scimitar's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Gloucestershire, UK.
Posts: 290
Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluepilot View Post
. For the shop, the quoted price was the wholesale price. They expected me to pay a few hundred pounds more. The result was that I bought online. In the meantime the shop has disappeared.
It's quite true. There is no retail margin in stuff anymore. As a consequence, I now don't carry any new stock at all, apart from aerial and satellite materials. None of my distributers can even sell to me ay Amazon prices, let alone beat them.

I wanted to trade order a 5GHz point to point link... the margin on 350 was 2 and then they wanted to charge me 2.5% for the card fees as it wasn't a retail sale. I really only keep my shop open as a High St office and roadside advert. If I relied on sales I would have gone pop years ago as all my competitors have.
Scimitar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 7:24 pm   #189
ThePillenwerfer
Octode
 
ThePillenwerfer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 1,116
Default Re: Maplin stores

As Dave says above a lot of web-sites are poor. I see that CPC have had a revamp making things a simple as resistors difficult to find. I find the search function on Amazon next-to-useless and you'd really expect better from a purely internet company.

I remember the old Maplin's fondly but even then they were expensive on finished goods. When 5" floppies were easily available for a pound each, and you could get them for ten bob with a bit of effort, Maplin's were charging 30 for ten.
__________________
"Experts are only good at one thing: explaining why something will not work!"
ThePillenwerfer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 10:35 pm   #190
dseymo1
Dekatron
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Shropshire, UK.
Posts: 3,003
Default Re: Maplin stores

I rather suspect that the website issue is due to the use of a popular software application, which had better remain nameless, which I have the misfortune to use at work. It's very widely used, I believe, by online retailers, including at least one of the best-known, and can be blamed for the 'you may also be interested in [something entirely unrelated]' messages, amongst many other things. It's the most illogical and unintiuitive thing that could ever be devised, not least because the UK version has a number of modules, each of which was translated from German by a different team, and uses different terms for the same items. An absolute abomination IMHO!
dseymo1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 1st Mar 2018, 10:38 pm   #191
robinshack
Heptode
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Spalding, Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK.
Posts: 609
Default Re: Maplin stores

Lately, HMRC have been making noises about how (mostly) Chinese online sellers holding stock in UK are evading vat, and maybe other taxes??
It is also claimed that genuine UK business is unable to compete. I suspect this is true for quite a few of them. Sooner or later there should be a clampdown on the exploitation of our import and tax avoidance. It will make it dearer for you and I, and millions of others, but should help our own genuine UK business to survive on a level playing field. I will not elaborate further, so as to avoid any breach of forum rules regarding politics.
In a way, such enforcement might just possibly have helped Maplin survive.
On a slightly different angle, it amazes me how I bought 2 weller type sponges from China for less than 40p delivered direct from China in 3 weeks or so.
Unfair trade and postal subsidies is all I think is the reason. I realise also that I am part of the problem by buying them! Again, Maplin would never have been able to compete. Maplin is the victim of these unfair imports unfortunately.
Rob
__________________
I am also interested in and collect 00 model railway.

Last edited by robinshack; 1st Mar 2018 at 10:45 pm.
robinshack is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 12:17 am   #192
IanBland
Pentode
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Northampton, Northants, UK.
Posts: 182
Default Re: Maplin stores

I think I said this already, but shops are handy compared to mail order. I quite often place orders at Farnell. I have to browse around and find everything, which can be inconvenient as I work in a call centre and inconsiderate people keep ringing me up and expecting me to answer their questions while I'm trying to sort out which microcontroller or tactile swith I want to order.

More seriously, I have to place minimum orders to avoid handling charges, and then I have to wait. Next day doesn't happen from Friday to Sunday (3/7 of the week). If I just want one part for a project, a day waiting is a day lost. Since as a working person the realisation I want such a part usually occurs on a day off when I have time for work on a project, it means I'm basically waiting until my next day off to get on with it. So it means from the moment of desire to acquire to completion isn't an hour or a day, it's a week.

Or I can pop down to a Maplin shop and only lose an hour in doing so. I may be a rare fish, but I'd happily buy more stock there if they stocked more than one or two or anything (I have a running gag with the staff of saying, "Damn it, I'll take your entire stock!").

So there's the thing, I sadly often don't bother checking Maplin because I want 3 or more of something so I'm going to have to order it anyway.

Every now and again I muse whether there is a sustainable business model for an electronic components store. Most times I end up with a model where you're basically selling something else to keep afloat, which makes the electronic components part kind of pointless. It did occur to me that there is a similar issue for sewing and knitting supplies; to be worth visiting your shop needs a very wide range of rather low value objects for sale, most of which shift in small volumes.

Maybe a shop that sells wool and operational amplifiers is the answer.
IanBland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 1:30 am   #193
Terry_VK5TM
Hexode
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Tintinara, South Australia, Australia
Posts: 490
Default Re: Maplin stores

I think Ian has put a finger on another reason the high street has/is falling apart - time.

It seems that people are spending far more time at work just to make a living and don't have the time to get out to the shops like they used too.

Add to that all the other distractions of modern life and something has to give, usually discretionary spending in the what I call "non-essential" shopping.

We have got to the point that all our fruit and veggies are now delivered by courier (even way out here in the middle of nowhere) and only go to a physical shop for other grocery/essential items maybe once every 3 months.

We do have a local store for emergency purchases, but he is struggling to stay afloat.

To show how upside down this all is, the wife can purchase knitting wool from an online UK business and have it delivered for less than half the price of walking into store here in Australia to purchase it.

As I have mentioned before, just about all of my electronics component/gadget purchases are made online now, whether it be from the likes of RS or cheap Chinese suppliers.
__________________
Terry VK5TM
http://www.vk5tm.com/
Terry_VK5TM is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 1:34 am   #194
Oldcodger
Octode
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: West Midlands, UK.
Posts: 1,131
Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by robinshack View Post
Lately, HMRC have been making noises about how (mostly) Chinese online sellers holding stock in UK are evading vat, and maybe other taxes??
It is also claimed that genuine UK business is unable to compete. I suspect this is true for quite a few of them. Sooner or later there should be a clampdown on the exploitation of our import and tax avoidance. It will make it dearer for you and I, and millions of others, but should help our own genuine UK business to survive on a level playing field. I will not elaborate further, so as to avoid any breach of forum rules regarding politics.
In a way, such enforcement might just possibly have helped Maplin survive.
On a slightly different angle, it amazes me how I bought 2 weller type sponges from China for less than 40p delivered direct from China in 3 weeks or so.
Unfair trade and postal subsidies is all I think is the reason. I realise also that I am part of the problem by buying them! Again, Maplin would never have been able to compete. Maplin is the victim of these unfair imports unfortunately.
Rob
BUT, then again, perhaps Maplin is a victim of the beancounter mentality, where shop stock depends on sales. e.g. I'd like to buy an ABS enclosure ( Plastic box). AH- it's only available mail order, shop stocks have been stopped.
Maplin price for the item is circa 1.5. Carriage = 2.99. Total = 4.49, and comes after a delay. I could buy it at RS ( LOCAL DEPOT), where I buy on line and collect tomorrow, but it's dearer.
Argos & other stores have this sorted. It's called "click & collect". Buy on line, and item is sent to store of choice at no extra cost.
Oldcodger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 2:38 am   #195
IanBland
Pentode
 
Join Date: May 2015
Location: Northampton, Northants, UK.
Posts: 182
Default Re: Maplin stores

Argos are now doing same day deliveries, a few weeks ago I ordered a kettle at about 4pm and it arrived at about 7pm, which felt absolutely glorious. I'm certainly happy to pay a carriage fee (it was 3.95 I think). But the problem for electronics parts comes back to the breadth of stock you need to carry; although Maplin these days seem to have pared this down to an absurd level. The fellow in the shop opens a little drawer and their entire stock- one IC- is rattling about in there.

That latter thing I do find baffling. It's not as if 4000 CMOS chips or transistors rot after a few days. You'd think they could have at least, I dunno, ten or something.
IanBland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 9:29 am   #196
sortedradio
Pentode
 
sortedradio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Sheffield, South Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 112
Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
That latter thing I do find baffling. It's not as if 4000 CMOS chips or transistors rot after a few days. You'd think they could have at least, I dunno, ten or something.
I've never understood why with low value components, i.e. resistors, they only stock 2 of each item. It wouldn't cost much to increase this to a more useful level. Stock levels are obviously set by someone with no idea of the needs of the customer. If the item is high value I can understand not wanting too much money sitting on the shelf. I always joke with the staff that Noah must be in charge of stock control!
__________________
Martin
BVWS member
GQRP Club
sortedradio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 9:38 am   #197
vidjoman
Octode
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: East Sussex, UK.
Posts: 1,914
Default Re: Maplin stores

This lack of stock was something that changed many years ago.
The bean-counters at Sony realised that to have multiple stock locations was costly. With perhaps 10 locations within Europe, each having 10 each of an item available for 'local' delivery means 100 items in stock all the same. Locate 20 items at one location and express mail them out, with a carriage charge, is cheaper for the company. That's why Sony spares stopped in the UK and other countries and all the parts came from Germany, and that was back in the 1980's.
vidjoman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 9:47 am   #198
MrBungle
Nonode
 
MrBungle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: London, UK.
Posts: 2,474
Default Re: Maplin stores

Keysight are the same. Needed a knob for my (HP) power supply. Phoned U.K. office and got invoiced for two entire quid. Next thing someone in Spain phones me to take payment. Then it took two weeks to turn up.

Apparently centralisation is the way to go. I sure hope fuel doesn’t increase in prices suddenly....
MrBungle is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 11:41 am   #199
David G4EBT
Dekatron
 
David G4EBT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Cottingham, East Yorkshire, UK.
Posts: 3,144
Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by sortedradio View Post
Quote:
That latter thing I do find baffling. It's not as if 4000 CMOS chips or transistors rot after a few days. You'd think they could have at least, I dunno, ten or something.
I've never understood why with low value components, i.e. resistors, they only stock 2 of each item. It wouldn't cost much to increase this to a more useful level. Stock levels are obviously set by someone with no idea of the needs of the customer. If the item is high value I can understand not wanting too much money sitting on the shelf. I always joke with the staff that Noah must be in charge of stock control!
I think the problem stems from the fact that they were primarily a mail order company so all their inventory to service the whole of their customer base nationwide was in a warehouse on an industrial estate. But then they started to open shops, which grew to 215 - many in smaller towns, with 2,500 staff. They had to either site the shops in high streets in high cost locations to gain the footfall, or in cheaper out of town stores on trading estates or ring roads. Before internet came along, out of town locations were 'destinations' to which the likes of us would travel, but when internet/ebay/paypal came along, that changed the dynamics. They have quite a large store on in industrial estate on the outer ring road of York. Who on would travel there when they can go online and have the stuff tomorrow?

With so many shops to service, if they carried stocks of components in any depth, they're have more in their shops than in the warehouse. At one stage they had what they called 'Mondo' stores in large cities such as Nottingham, where they carried the full inventory in depth. I think they did the right thing to 'trade up' to try to raise the 'average purchase value'. As an example, they sold 10,000 drones last year.

Where I think they went wrong is to not rationalise their inventory.

They clung on to Doug Simmons original concept of selling electronic components, ignoring the 80/20 principle - that 80% of their turnover will be from 20% of the inventory. They'd have been better ditching all the stuff that we - as a tiny and reducing minority - are interested in: all the low value, low turnover electronic stuff - semiconductors, resistors, caps, fuses, transformers, enclosures, pots, plugs and sockets and so forth. It's clear from this thread that for all their efforts, all that they've got is a customer base for this flotsam and jetsum, that is dissatisfied and is looking elsewhere.

If it does survive, a new owner will be very selective in only being prepared to cherry pick those stores - maybe 25 at most, that are profitable, and possibly retain an internet presence. Of course, they've got quite a business in the Far East too, which handle more than 500 suppliers and 5,000 buying items for the parent company. The major product categories include cables, power supplies, electronics components, kits and tools, communication equipment, computers, toys, automotive electronics, and consumer electronics.

They don't need any shops to stay in business under a new buyer. Amazon doesn't have any shops and ASOS doesn't have any shops but are doing nicely thank you.

Remember Staples - the office equipment suppliers? They use to have large stores in most larger towns and cities.

Maybe few have noticed that they're not around any more. Staples haven't gone bust -they've gone online. In November 2016, Staples stores were purchased by Hilco Capital and are now under new ownership. 'Office Outlet' is now operating as a separate business to Staples UK Limited, which includes Staples Online website and telephone order line, and Staples Advantage. In Hull, the first thing that Office Outlet did was to close the large Staples store in the town (ironically, next door to Maplin!), and to move to a site on the inner ring road next to the likes of Halfords, PC World, The Range.

It's not helped that Maplin has changed ownership several times, which is disruptive and doesn't help in planning a long term strategy that works.

Basically, I think it's gone down the gurgler. Sadly, I think before too long, 'Maplin' will only be spoken of when prefaced with 'Do you remember...

BHS, Tandy, Toys R Us, Woolworths, Blockbuster, Our Price, C&A, Wimpy, John Menzies, Rumbelows, Happy Eater, Lyons Tea House, Timothy Whites were all once household names.

(A few Jessop's shops have ben resurrected).
__________________
David.
BVWS Member.
G-QRP Club member 1339.
David G4EBT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 2nd Mar 2018, 12:03 pm   #200
bluepilot
Hexode
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Duffort, Gers, France
Posts: 386
Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by David G4EBT View Post
They clung on to Doug Simmons original concept of selling electronic components, ignoring the 80/20 principle - that 80% of their turnover will be from 20% of the inventory. They'd have been better ditching all the stuff that we - as a tiny and reducing minority - are interested in
I'm not sure that would work. If they ditched 80% of the inventory then Pareto's principle would still apply to the remaining 20%. You need the 80% to make money from the other 20%.

Many years ago in my mis-spent youth I frequented a bar where the new owner came up with a similar idea. There were times when he had negligible turnover so he decided not to open then. But then he had negligible turnover at other times. In the end his opening hours were so short that he had no turnover at all and went broke.
__________________
Stuart

The golden age is always yesterday - Asa Briggs
bluepilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 5:59 am.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2018, Paul Stenning.