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A world without Maplins...

Discussion in 'UK politics, current affairs and news' started by ska invita, Feb 28, 2018.

  1. cheesethief

    cheesethief Well-Known Member

    Makes you wonder about the "geniuses" in Apple stores...:hmm:
    gentlegreen likes this.
  2. gentlegreen

    gentlegreen Sproutarian.

    I found this earlier :-
    Looks like Maplin were aiming for the same sort of thing :-

    salem likes this.
  3. elbows

    elbows WoeTimer

    Also I think one of the potential rescue deals for Maplins involved a plan to focus on smart appliances & the internet of things, including installation of stuff in peoples homes. Well its a plan, not one I would bet on.

    I worked in a small local computer shop from 97-99 and it was grim then, and web retail was still in its infancy at the time. And some of the high-markup items that really helped cover some of the overheads are the very thing that look such a ripoff now. The example I can think of that most obviously applies to Maplins is cables - in 1997 we could buy a load of parallel printer cables for 70p each wholesale and sell them for £6.99-£9.99 each. Whenever I checked Maplins for cable prices in the past, it seems they had stuck to the same sort of approach for many cable types but the prices seem so bad compared to the net. The issue of 'customers' picking our brains for knowledge and then going somewhere cheaper was an issue even then, when the somewhere cheaper was often a physical shop in a nearby city that they had to drive to.
    Artaxerxes and gentlegreen like this.
  4. skyscraper101

    skyscraper101 0891 50 50 50


    'Apropos'...it's Latin. You ought to have a basic grasp of Latin if you're working in Currys Maplin.
  5. Artaxerxes

    Artaxerxes Well-Known Member

    Not really, the geniuses know a lot about Apple and how it’s OS works and don’t really need to know that much “you’ve fucked it, that’ll be 50 quid to send it back to head office to get it unfucked” covering what they can’t deal with.
    paolo likes this.
  6. Riklet

    Riklet procrastinación

    Went to Maplins at Christmas and they didnt have a simple SATA to usb 3 cable to migrate hdd to sdd. Only an expensive pack with extras.

    Ordered it online in the end and would do so again or go to an independent shop. Im surprised they have lasted this long tbh.
    kenny g likes this.
  7. weltweit

    weltweit Well-Known Member

    I was only rarely in Maplins and not a big spender, I think their management missed the move to online, easy to say in hindsight, sorry for the employees.
  8. Dogsauce

    Dogsauce Lord of the Dance Settee

    That's been a standard shitty business model for years, always sell the extras (cables, batteries, memory cards etc.) at a ridiculous price. I remember being in currys/PC world a few years ago with my dad for something and while I was there looked for a SCART lead, cheapest was something like £12.99 when they could also be bought in poundshops. They rely on customer ignorance, particularly if people are buying presents for someone else. If you buy a camera they'll offer you a pretend 'deal' on a case and SD card with 25% off, but the memory card is already five times more expensive than elsewhere. Treat you like a mug.
    paolo likes this.
  9. cheesethief

    cheesethief Well-Known Member

    I remember their first serious attempt at entering the online space - a totally ill-judged online version of the catalogue. A very literal online catalogue. They made this website that was meant to look & feel very much like the paper catalogue, with pages that you could flick back & forward through. It was utterly awful. They failed to grasp that a website is a hugely different medium & made the mistake of many earlier sites by trying to create a virtual copy of a real thing.
  10. A380

    A380 How do I change this 'custom title' thing then?

    I think the problem is lots of people like me used to love going in for a bit of a mooch about. But never brought anything.

    I really miss Proops on the Tottenham Court Road.

    Plastic boxes just full of electrical and electronic stuff. You never knew what you might find.
    paolo and gentlegreen like this.
  11. xenon

    xenon Carne Por la Machina

    Never been in a Maplin but similar joys of wondering around looking at random tools, components, gizmos can be found in Clas Ohlson. How are they doing I wonder.

    Anyway, the high street has bene dieing for years. Woolworths was 10 years ago remember and it wasn't a new phenominum then. Out of town retail parks first, then internet shopping. Am quite lucky here, the local high street does have a few useful shops as well as the ubiquitous coffee and charity shops. Solutions have been talked about for years too. Reducing rates, letting people be able to take risks in startin small businesses, use the spaces for other social purposes. Course, this is why you get the beloved popups.
  12. A380

    A380 How do I change this 'custom title' thing then?

    There is a more general question to be answered: what now is the purpose of town centres now that we as a society don’t need/ want so much retail square footage and more of what we do want is brigaded together in regional shopping ‘destinations’?

    Many market and county towns have two types of voids. The outer ring of marginal small shops that used to fill and empty as the economy went up and down but have now been empty for a decade. Larger central units that were buildt for big chains that either don’t exist (BHS, even some Woolworths) or are closing branches (M&S) etc.

    Should we try to regenerate every town, or shrink the centres by turning retail into residential?

    What does the hive mind think?
    TopCat likes this.
  13. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member

    Blimey, Proops. That’s going back a bit.
    A380 likes this.
  14. paolo

    paolo Well-Known Member

    I think I read something in the Economist a year ago mulling over this.

    We’re now beginning to reject the out of town retailplexes.

    Make towns hubs again.

    I think transport is a factor. Give non-Londoners the important connections us Londoners have. Give everyone reliable transport, reasonable prices.

    Route that reliable transport around town shopping areas. At least.

    Getting quite off the Maplin topic though.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2018
    Sprocket., A380 and mauvais like this.
  15. friedaweed

    friedaweed Sitting down for a wee

    Where will all the geeks go for jobs now :(
  16. Chilli.s

    Chilli.s Well-Known Member

    Having access to that plug/socket/adaptor/lead with just a quick nip into town was what Maplins did well. Ill miss it at some time, but the writing's been on the wall for them for a wile now.
  17. kenny g

    kenny g Most Welcome!

    Amazed they have lasted this long.
  18. Mungy

    Mungy i haz boobz

    My last experience with Maplin was last year when I went there to look at an Akai MPK mini 25 key keyboard controller to use to make music. Bloke said I couldn't try one cos they didn't have a PC set up to use it with. So I didn't buy it, or anything. Bought one from Amazon a month or so later for cheaper than Maplin. My first use of it I was blown away by how good it is for a thing with mini keys. If Maplin had demoed it to me I'd have bought it no questions asked. I used to love my maplin catalogue back in the day :D
  19. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    This is the thing many high street shops don’t seem to get. Their whole competitive advantage over online is the fact they can physically present you with the thing you are thinking of getting to try before you buy and then to have it immediately. If they can’t do these things, they literally have nothing to offer. When I have shops tell me they can order something for me, it’s like they think it’s still 1988. I can order it myself! When they say I can try it at home and return it, well, I’d prefer to do that via an online service, which has made returns a simpler matter. If you’re a shop, you need to move heaven and earth to present me with what I’m interested in or an alternative there and then for me to play with.

    Some shops still get it right. I went to the Yamaha music shop because they have practice rooms set up so you can try out any instrument you like. I bought an electric violin from them there and then even though I knew I could have ordered it for 5% cheaper online, because it seemed a fair price to pay for that service. I did not, however, buy an effects pedal board because I knew I could get that 25% cheaper online and that did not seem like a fair price to pay.
  20. cybershot

    cybershot Well-Known Member

    And also why you have a 14 days no quibble return on online purchases even if you've used it for what you intended for and then decide to return it as 'not fit for purpose' it used to be called distance selling regulations, but its called something else now and I always forget it's name and CBA to google it.

    You'd think it would be within the interests of online places to encourage you to go to stores instead and demo products and buy over the counter, in order to just close this loophole.

    Also having pick up points in retail parks (store doesn't need to be massive, as I've said you could probably fit 5 or so argos sized stores in those massive Toys R Us branches) would cut out the annoyance of couriers. If I even see a company uses Hermes for example, I don't even bother ordering from them as they are utterly useless. I'd much rather go pick up my parcel from a store/sorting office/locker, but as long as having shit courier companies and replacing missing/damaged goods still work out cheaper they would have moved to this model by now.

    The less rent/people on their own payroll the better. Especially when it now comes to providing a pension to employees as well.
  21. retail is fucked, what with new Look and John Lewis under pressure. Looks to be a slow burn fire sale at House of Fraser as well. How does all this growth & success we are told is happening fit with the decimation of the retail sector and its jobs ?
    hash tag likes this.
  22. cheesethief

    cheesethief Well-Known Member

    A lot of traditional highstreet shops are doomed to extinction, they're already dead but don't realise it yet. You can't put the internet genie back in the bottle, the future of retail is mostly online. The will be some exceptions obviously, but most of the established stalwarts are fucked. They either have to drastically change their entire approach or face an inexorable decline. Most just fiddle around the margins, thinking that adding a crappy, half-arsed online version of their store is going to cut it in a retail world dominated by Amazon & eBay.

    Food shopping will be more robust, a lot of people seem to still appreciate buying their groceries in person. The service sector will probably be ok, people still go out to the pub, cafes, restaurants, etc, and the rise of just-eat, deliveroo, etc actually makes it easier for independent outlets to target a wider market.

    It's shop assistants, cashiers, stock takers, etc, in traditional highstreet stores who have a bleak future. If I was faced with the choice of working in a shop, a pub or a restaurant, I'd definitely go for one of the last two, there's no future in many shops...:(
  23. kabbes

    kabbes "A top 400 poster"

    The high street will certainly survive for high-value bespoke items, low-value churn items and value-add incredibly specialist stores. When I look for what seems to have continued success, it includes confectioner/newsagent/stationer small hybrids and other stores that sell you things where you don't care if you pay £1.50 when you could pay £1.20 online, poundshops and charity stores, the hobbyist shops that really know what they are doing (from tabletop gaming to music shops), expensive clothing/art/homeware boutiques, antique shops and of course service shops (such as opticians).

    What is failing are the outlets that were already basically doing pre-internet what internet stores now do better -- i.e. have as diverse a stock as possible and sell it cheaper than the independents. All these retail chains are caught between specialist knowledge or convenience on the one hand and massive diversity of stock and cheap prices on the other. They can't do either thing well and they're disappearing as a consequence. And if it weren't for the massive human cost of the job losses, I'd say good riddance, because they were soulless, homogenous pits, frankly, that made every high street look identical.
    salem likes this.
  24. hash tag

    hash tag Pedicabo omnes

    Newsagents are going to the wall because fewer and fewer people are buying newspapers or magazines anymore. Also, mini supermarkets are helping to finish of newsagents. In addition, you can also get printed news at garages these days.
    from what I can gather, one of the few businesses doing well at the moment is domino's.
    Slo-mo likes this.
  25. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    Gees has gone? :( :( :( :eek:
    I ought not to be surprised at all, it was insanely old-fashioned as a shop ...

    But massive shame all the same.

    I was among those to blame though, on my annualish CB visits ... looked into Gees and one or two similar shops in passing, but never bloody bought anuthing ..... :(

    We tell ourselves that we love the quirky independent shops, in Mill Road and elsewhere, but did we ever use them really? :oops: :oops:
    salem and campanula like this.
  26. Sprocket.

    Sprocket. Never Mind That, It’s Time For the Bus!...

    I sometimes wonder how Machine Mart keeps going, I popped in earlier in the week for a set of door panel levers, purely because of convenience. As ever, on the few occasions I go into the local store, I was the only customer, served by three staff.
    Online will no doubt see the demise of shops like these and similar disappear.
  27. xenon

    xenon Carne Por la Machina

    Yep music instrument shops are a special case. I bought an electric guitar last year. The shop didn't actually have the models in stock I'd been reading about but whilst there, played a couple of others, one of which I ended up buying. I'd never have got that online because it being fairly expensive, would have been quite a gamble as to whether I liked it. I've just seen this week, the shop in question is offering free music lessons soon.

    Being able to touch the items you're buying and ancillary services that can't be easily replicated online are one of the few advantages physical shops have.

    But then, maybe the hardly new phenominom of online shopping had not so much to do with Maplins demise.

    Revealed: How a private equity takeover contributed to Maplin’s demise

    "The insolvency of electronics retailer Maplin is bad news for its 2,500 UK employees and suppliers. Various reasons for the collapse have been cited, including competition, internet rivals and falling exchange rate.

    But another factor deserves closer scrutiny: the private equity business model which frequently secures returns by dumping liabilities.

    Loans before shares

    In June 2014, Maplin Electronics Limited was bought for £85m by Rutland Partners, a private equity firm. The purchase and related expenses were funded by bank borrowing and a £72 million loan from the new owners, carrying a high interest rate of 15% per annum via a labyrinth of companies.

    The business structure is complex but Maplin Electronics Limited became ultimately owned by Rutland Partners. Rutland trades as a limited liability partnership (LLP). The complex corporate structure gets in the way of analysis – it is the funding model which matters here.

    The choice of investment through loans rather than equity (or shares) is interesting: returns to shareholders in the form of dividends are not a tax-deductible expense. But the payment of interest is a tax-deductible expense. This can reduce the tax bill of the company (although HMRC can challenge the interest payment deductibility).

    The loans from Rutland were ‘secured’. This means that in the event of bankruptcy the shareholders – in this case Rutland in their capacity as secured creditors – get paid before unsecured creditors.

    Jumping the queue

    The normal order of distribution places shareholders at the end of the queue. But by funding the Maplin investment through loans rather than shares, Rutland (the shareholder) placed itself at the head of the queue for its loan repayments.

    The audited accounts of Maplin’s parent company MEL Topco for the years to March 2017 and 2016 show that despite operating profits of £2.4m and £6.9m, the company reported a loss before tax of £16.1m and £11m. What turned operating profits into losses?"
    TopCat and William of Walworth like this.
  28. TopCat

    TopCat Gone away, no forwarding address

    Signs up saying 50% off. I go in and ask what goods are 50% off. None.
  29. Slo-mo

    Slo-mo Well-Known Member

    True, and yet no actual newspapers have gone out of business yet. If you count the i as a continuation of the Independent then every national newspaper we had twenty years ago is still with us.
  30. hash tag

    hash tag Pedicabo omnes

    Just, though how much longer?

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