It is always sad when another high street name goes into administration and Maplin with over 280 stores, but with a tiny turnover of just over £235m and over 2300 staff, always looked precarious even when its third owner since 1994 announced in 2012 it was debt free. The problem is that just like its name sake holiday camp in Hi De Hi , Maplin's, was never a cool brand even when every school boy loved home electronics and Sir Clive Sinclair was famous.
Ultimately the brand was attractive to a very narrow and quirky clientele. Like Gladys Pugh and her holiday camp team it was always a weird place to go and I get the feeling you had to be a bit different to work there (Not always in a bad thing of course they always wanted to help). But did anyone really know what the product strategy was?
Maplin could have been something big if it had stuck to its original concept in the late 70's... selling stuff by mail order to geeks who didn't like shopping on the high street much! Like RS components there was and still is a big market for electronic stuff but its a B2B and tiny B2C market and all done online.
So with a costly property portfolio, massive wage bill, changing lifestyles and Amazon and Ebay to compete with it is amazing they found Rutland Partners to buy them in 2014.
As a marketing guy and quite a few years in the technology sector managing brands I wonder why it all got to happen this way?
I think over the next few weeks we might find out a bit more about Rutland's real agenda?