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Old 26th Oct 2017, 9:48 am   #1
crackle
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Default Maplin stores

It appears that Maplin are struggling to survive.
It would be a shame to loose the shops altogether.

They have some good discounts on at the moment.

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Old 26th Oct 2017, 10:54 am   #2
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I'm quite mixed about Maplin. The component counter isn't great and is rarely staffed in my local branch, generally quite expensive for off the shelf items.

That said, at least there IS a parts counter in some form, which is handy if I need something there and then, assuming they have it...

It will be a shame to see it go, but these days 99% of the time I simply buy online and wait for items to arrive and save heaps of cash.

I'm really not sure what they are trying to do these days, like many stores they have diversified in an attempt to stay relevant and in doing so have cut their range back and don't seem to really satisfy any particular group.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 11:04 am   #3
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I would also be sorry to see them go, but they seem to have had an identity crisis for quite a while now.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 11:19 am   #4
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I’ve got to the point I’d rather leverage RS’s free next day deliveries than haul myself to the local Maplin and then find out what they said they had in stock they don’t know what it is and can’t find it. I also don’t need disco lights, a small ride on car or a quadcopter
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 12:12 pm   #5
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Well, they've been regularly slated on here so we haven't helped!
However I'd blame the Internet (if anything). Most, if not all retailers are under pressure from the rush toward online shopping, especially niche markets like ours. A few enthusiasts can't support town centre shops, like we did in the good old days. Falling footfall, soaring costs and evolution can have only one outcome.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 12:39 pm   #6
David G4EBT
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I’m not aware that Maplin are in dire straits financially, but they continually have what might be termed ‘fire sales’, destocking items which have either been superseded or aren’t selling well, to make way for new stock. A lot of that stuff is ‘when it’s gone it’s gone’ and is shifted in its parallel e-bay shop run as a separate strand of its mainstream business. That ‘shop’ also sells ‘customer returns and refurbished items. Because items are often bought as gifts for Christmas etc, if the packaging is damaged, customers won’t accept it, so such items find their way to the e-bay store, so we may get a brand new fully warranted item, maybe not in its original packing or in damaged packing, at well below its retail price.

http://stores.ebay.co.uk/maplin-elec...sub=8345230012

That's how they shifted de-stocked ABS and ali project boxes, PCB materials etc, for which there is next to no demand. Makes good business sense.

Components are low value, slow turnover, and just a nuisance to Maplin - I’m surprised they still stock any. By hanging onto the outdated concept of supplying components to hobbyists, stocking a reducing range in only ones and twos, they risk alienating those few customers. It would make more business sense to pull right out of components - transistors, diodes, capacitors, LEDs, pots, ICs, transformers etc as it's such a minuscule part of its turnover. At best, just keep plugs, sockets, cables, leads & adaptors, and focus on their mainstream business - as a box-shifter of fast moving 'state of the art/soon to be obsolete', here today/gone tomorrow, consumer electronics gadgetry.

I don't know when I last visited a Maplin store for components, or for that matter ordered them on line. I can order a much wider range of stuff from RS, CPC-Farnell, post free, or from ESR Electronics or Bowood than I could get from Maplin. It arrives next day and saves the hassle of visiting Maplin's Hull store, (where a chum got a £75.00 parking fine from a the car park enforcement firm employed by Maplin, for straddling a white line into an adjacent space because he was parked next to a large white van). I'm not in the market for a Dalek voice or electronic fly swatter, so it wouldn't be any hardship to me if the branch closed, (assuming that it's still open).

The market that Maplin caters for has changed out of all recognition since it was founded in 1972 by Doug Simmons (who was a BT engineer at the time) and fellow electronics enthusiasts Roger Allen, who jointly set up a mail order business in a very small way working from home. Back then, components were there core business - now, they’re just peripheral, contributing little to the bottom line. In the early 70s, there was a great deal of interest in hobby electronics with many magazine titles that have since ceased to exist, including Maplin’s own magazine.

When Maplin started to open shops – many in expensive High St locations – if they were were to hold stock in any depth they’d have more in the shops than in the warehouse, and for what was primarily a mail order operation back then, it made no sense to have slow turnover items in stock in shops, but run out of stock in the warehouse, thus failing to satisfy the needs of mail order customers. As well as online from the warehouse, it now has 217 shops to service – some are mega-stores on retail parks which stock the full catalogue.

Trying to expand component sales nearly put paid to Maplin in the mid 80s. As the retail Market for components was tailing off they tried to expand their role in the business sector and went up against the likes of Farnell/CPC/RS. They veered away from that ill-fated venture and refocused their marketing strategy to cater for the expanding market for higher value consumer electronics, test gear, computers, audio, electronic novelties, sat-navs, dash-cams, toys, CB, plugs, sockets, connectors, cables, in-car entertainment.

Maplin has had mixed fortunes and has gone through a management buyout and several takeovers. In 2001 there was a £41 million management buy-out, and In 2004 Maplin was sold for £244 million to Montagu Private Equity. In 2014 Montagu sold Maplin to turnaround’ specialist Rutland Partners for just £85 million. (Rutland also owns Pizza Hut UK and Bernard Matthews). Whether Rutland does manage to lick it into shape or it changes hands yet again, is a matter of conjecture.

Much of Maplin’s stock is sourced from the Far East, where they have an HQ in Shenzhen, China.

The Far East operation - set up in 1995 - handles more than 500 suppliers and 5,000 buying items for the parent company. More about that here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maplin_Electronics

Maplin do accept paypal, and orders over £10.00 are post free. They’ve been around for 45 years, and have served us well. In this internet and e-bay age, I hope they don’t suffer the same fate as Radio Shack - I think we’d be saddened were that to happen. I’m sure that few of us can walk past a Maplin store without popping in to browse, but for me, it's never 'destination' for anything I need.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 1:20 pm   #7
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Default Re: Maplin stores

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Originally Posted by AC/HL View Post
'However I'd blame the Internet...'
Ironic, that. As I recall back around '89 Maplin were one of - if not THE first companies to have a 'bulletin board' where components could be ordered electronically via a home computer and modem.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 1:58 pm   #8
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Default Re: Maplin stores

What also hasn't helped Maplin is their website is rubbish with terrible search facilities. I couldn't find an item searching on their website, but if I google searched the same term with "Maplin" at the end, I got the item up. I mentioned this to one of the guys working there and he said "yeah we do that too!"
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 2:17 pm   #9
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Its the "don't know, don't care " attitude of the staff that I find off putting.
As I age, disgracefully, I become less tolerant of bad manners and the know nothings that pass for sales personnel.
I find the mail order to be OK, if pricey. At least it all turns up eventually but I have had 3 deliveries for a 7 item order in the past, heaven knows how they make any money but the Post Office profits.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 2:19 pm   #10
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I think it's a symptom of being too big (corporate) and the necessary overheads that involves - I reckon.

I suppose this is the way of it - if you own/live in/on the premises you can minimise your overheads and make a business survive (my wife and I did this with a small shop we owned and lived over). We'd still be doing it now if we hadn't the opportunity to move to a remote, wooded location and bring the business with us!

Maplins will, I fear, go exactly the way of Tandy et al - the bean counters have no personal interest and therefore look at it entirely from the bottom line. Perhaps if they lived and worked IN the shops things would be different.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 5:34 pm   #11
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by crackle View Post
It appears that Maplin are struggling to survive.
Mike
Where did this information come from?
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 5:51 pm   #12
Neil Purling
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Default Re: Maplin stores

The problem I have had with Maplin has been getting components with ratings adequate for valve projects. Resistors that will cope with the currents in valve based circuits and also be of a similar physical size to the originals. If I want capacitors I may want axial capacitors with long leads and a working voltage of 400-600 volts. I usually go elsewhere.
I can't remember my RS components passwords. Having to bulk order components to beat a minimum order charge is a big negative factor.
The Maplin on-line search for components,,, I don't like it. I used to be able to search through all available values on one page if I were looking for 2W resistors.

Last edited by Neil Purling; 26th Oct 2017 at 6:05 pm.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 6:50 pm   #13
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Well the results here don’t look good but not many on the high street are doing that well.
https://www.insidermedia.com/insider...year-of-change

And by this statement they don’t seem to be giving up.

Looking forward, the arrival of the new executive management team afforded us the opportunity to review our future strategy – starting with listening again to our customers, our colleagues and consumers through multiple focus groups," he added.
"The feedback was compelling.
"Our core strength, and key differentiator, remains the knowledge that our 2,500 colleagues have, and the advice that this enables them to give to our customers, every day.

"In the year ahead we intend to continue to build upon these strengths as we enter an exciting period in the ongoing development of the business."


We have a reasonably new store near here. I’m not really keeping them afloat by buying the occasional axial cap, I check stock before I leave and they make up the order for me. Some things seem very highly priced other things such as servisol are reasonable .... and convenience always costs.
They are very busy st the weekends and they are we manned with young staff who I’ve always found helpful.

It will be interesting to see how or if their sales strategy will change but I hope they survive, at least I'll have somewhere to go when my wife’s looking at clothes

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Old 26th Oct 2017, 7:19 pm   #14
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Default Re: Maplin stores

I noticed today that my local shop had been rebranded as 'Maplin Game'. I wonder if that signals a change of direction?

Edit: More details here.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 7:32 pm   #15
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Default Re: Maplin stores

It's quite sad really.

I can remember when the Maplin catalogue was a thing of wonder and they had pretty much everything.

It seems madness when they only stock one or two of everything when it comes to components and I suspect by adopting this stocking policy they have pretty much killed the component sales side of the business themselves.

I agree, the stores lack any kind of identity now.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 7:45 pm   #16
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Default Re: Maplin stores

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It seems madness when they only stock one or two of everything when it comes to components and I suspect by adopting this stocking policy they have pretty much killed the component sales side of the business themselves.
I suspect that the components-side of things has effectively killed itself as far as high-street/out-of-town retail-selling is concerned.

The value tied-up in having loads of low-value low-turnover parts stocked in hundreds of stores - with associated stock-control, floor-space-rental for storage etc. must be vast compared with the profit they make on selling a couple of 10K 2W metal-film resistors to the likes of us hobbyists (who are also a dying breed....)

That's just not good for cash-flow. Switching to an online-only operation for components would make sense (smaller stockholding, less square-footage needed, in a cheaper location] but then they'd be up against the existing big players in that sector [Mouser/Digikey, Farnell, CPC, RS] who have a far greater range and turnover.

These days I only use Maplin for components when it's an emergency and I can't wait for next-day delivery.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 7:58 pm   #17
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Default Re: Maplin stores

This week I needed three control knobs for a project and the ones at this link to R.S. looked suitable. A pack of five for £3.67 plus VAT = £4.40, with free P&P, so that’s £0.88 each. (3585 in stock for next day free delivery). Ordered yesterday, they arrived today. Sure, I’ve got two left over, but they’ll come in useful one day:

http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/potent...knobs/2597045/

I didn’t bother checking if Maplin had anything similar, but given this thread, I just have done. These would have suited:

https://www.maplin.co.uk/p/fluted-knob-k7c-yx03d

I’ve checked the stock in the local store, and predictably, they have just one in stock at £1.59. Three = £4.77 plus £2.96 P&P online. I guess I could have ordered them into the store on a click and collect basis, then when they arrive, have a ten mile round trip to collect them. Why would anyone want to do that? I’m not having a pop at Maplin – I’m just telling it like it is. Anyone who sees the firm as a component supplier for electronic hobbyists isn't on the same page as Maplin. They need to ditch the bits and focus on their core business. If they don't, de-stocking will happen by default as indeed it is, little by little.

If you need half a dozen items and they only have two of them, you end up buying none and look elsewhere. They don't stock germanium diodes and why would they? Who can blame them - zero demand except from the likes of us to replace a duff OA90 or whatever detector diode in an old Bush/Roberts/Hacker car boot sale 'squawk box'. Not a problem when you can get twenty 1N34s (as Elecktor would call them 'DUG's' - 'Diode Universal Germanium') from a UK ebay supplier for £2.99. One click to buy, another for paypal, all sorted in a minute or so.

I do have to say that whenever I've popped into Maplin’s for a browse if I’ve got time to kill and am passing a store in Hull, Putney, Kingston on Thames, Sheffield, Liverpool, Derby or Nottingham – all places that I visit from time to time - I’ve found the staff attentive, smartly dressed, unfailingly pleasant and as helpful as they can be, even if I come away empty-handed. The stores and displays are always neat and tidy and they deserve credit for that.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 7:59 pm   #18
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by G6Tanuki View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by nebogipfel View Post
It seems madness when they only stock one or two of everything when it comes to components and I suspect by adopting this stocking policy they have pretty much killed the component sales side of the business themselves.
I suspect that the components-side of things has effectively killed itself as far as high-street/out-of-town retail-selling is concerned.

The value tied-up in having loads of low-value low-turnover parts stocked in hundreds of stores - with associated stock-control, floor-space-rental for storage etc. must be vast compared with the profit they make on selling a couple of 10K 2W metal-film resistors to the likes of us hobbyists (who are also a dying breed....)

That's just not good for cash-flow. Switching to an online-only operation for components would make sense (smaller stockholding, less square-footage needed, in a cheaper location] but then they'd be up against the existing big players in that sector [Mouser/Digikey, Farnell, CPC, RS] who have a far greater range and turnover.

These days I only use Maplin for components when it's an emergency and I can't wait for next-day delivery.
That was my point really, Maplin used to be a big player and they seem to have lost it by making bad decisions.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 8:17 pm   #19
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Default Re: Maplin stores

But who else has survived on the high street (not including the odd owner/retailer who only survives in one or two places) Not Tandy these days. Those bad decisions aren't necessarily avoidable in the Internet age.
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Old 26th Oct 2017, 8:28 pm   #20
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Default Re: Maplin stores

Hobby type consumerism's going global direct, that helps to fund the destruction of habitats and wildlife to satisfy the increasing appetite for weird medicine and other consumer must have's such as weird pets.

I expect the money men of Maplins know what's going on, it's not rocket science....

They come and they go, one things for sure....

"Come gather 'round people

Wherever you roam

And admit that the waters

Around you have grown

And accept it that soon

You'll be drenched to the bone

If your time to you

Is worth savin'

Then you better start swimmin'

Or you'll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin'."

Lawrence.
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