mikerr
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Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:07 am

UK's eqivalent of radio shack may be closing

https://hackaday.com/2018/02/24/maplin-for-sale/

A great history and it got me into electronics,
sadly more recently it has a reputation for being overpriced and moved away from its components / hobbyist focus into pre made stuff to try to compete with pc world.

It's still the only high street shop to stock a full range of raspberry pi / arduino accessories ...
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Koeshi
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:53 am

It also is still much nicer to shop at than PCworld. I actually don't know of any other B&M places that I can actually buy components or even the more granular parts of general tech that they sell. Good luck finding the same selection of cables/cards/flash storage at another chain store.

scotty101
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:01 am

Koeshi wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 9:53 am
Good luck finding the same selection of overpriced cables/cards/flash storage at another chain store.
Fixed that for you ;)
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PiGraham
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:11 am

It's a shame, but I suppose it's just not a viable business for the highstreet. I occasional shop at Maplin but it is very rare. I know I get better range and prices online and next day or faster delivery is almost always better than a trek into town.

I can't see how the business could be saved. They've done well to outlast RadioShack.

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bensimmo
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:23 am

The one's I have been to where excellent, back when you built PC's up and bought resistors and just wnated a nosey around.
They, as mentioend, moved into a white goods store of everything electronic. Which is fine for looking around, but prices always too high.

But the biggest problem I've found is they are just in the wrong place for shopping now. Not quite in the mainstream shopping centres/out of town places. Not quite in the middle of a town and easy to get too.
Always that akward in between and never moved on.

There online parts where fine for while until it was cheaper and just as easy to click and collect at various other places.

They would probably do better as a Maplin... MakerStore(tm) within some other company now, perhaps a wing of Dixons Group flogging to the lazy maker who can get it easily and doesn't mind paying a fraction more for all things Makery but wants the convenience.

PiGraham
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:31 am

bensimmo wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:23 am

But the biggest problem I've found is they are just in the wrong place for shopping now. Not quite in the mainstream shopping centres/out of town places. Not quite in the middle of a town and easy to get too.
Presumably because the business couldn't afford the rents for prime retail space. Maplin stores I know of are on out of town retail parks or declining shopping streets where they probably get lower rents. IIRC RadioShack used to be in town centre shopping malls.

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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:36 am

bensimmo wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:23 am

They would probably do better as a Maplin... MakerStore(tm) within some other company now, perhaps a wing of Dixons Group flogging to the lazy maker who can get it easily and doesn't mind paying a fraction more for all things Makery but wants the convenience.
Would that make any sense to DSG though? PCWorld don'teven sell RJ45 connectors or spooled CatX cable.

Maplin seems to have more in common with craft stores like HobyCraft in many ways, but I don't suppose that would work.

hippy
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:46 am

What we could perhaps do with is Farnell/CPC/Rapid opening high street stores running on the Argos model - Basically a warehouse with a front counter.

But I'm not sure even that would be viable since everyone buys from China via eBay these days and complains bitterly when others can't match their low prices and free postage.

What we really need is for Poundland and the like to stock more electronic components.

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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:57 am

I don't know what the numbers are but I guess the electronics maker market is rather tiny for it to be viable on the highstreet.
What proportion of Argos or PC World customers would buy transtistors, connectors, Pi or Arduino in a store?

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Mortimer
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:38 am

In my opinion Maplin has been sliding downhill for quite a long time.

When I first started using Maplin it was a rather large paper catalogue, which not only listed components and prices but had a lot of information about those components with circuit ideas and interesting diagrams. I used to spend hours just reading the Maplin catalogue.

When you went a store it was rows of shelves with all the components you could imagine, with geeky sales staff that certainly new more than me at the time.

Since this, I see a Maplin store as just a toy store. Our local one seems to concentrate more on trying to attract kids into dragging their parents in to buy the latest ride on toy, or rc plane or drone. Everything else seems to try and compete head on with other retailers. E.g. Homebase and B&Q for home electrics. PCWorld for computer stuff. However Maplin's pricing never seems to be attractive unless things are on sale or special offer.

For components they will never be able to compete with the Internet, especially the likes of Banggood, Aliexpress, Amazon and eBay. They needed to come up with a different proposition. Personally I think they should have concentrated on being a sort of commercial "MakerSpace" outfit. I think this would have been something people were keen to work for and visit.

As it is, I'm sort of minded to say "Good riddance", but will ultimately miss it, but only as I remember it in the earlier days.
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bensimmo
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 11:40 am

Dixon's Group was just an example, all the PC world have been pulled in as a side counter on a wall. Where the main part is phones and printers.
And we have a few around here.
I doubt they would unless they can churn them out for money.
I was specifically the MakerStore(TM) up and coming 3d printers, spools, all you Arduino, pi etc)
That you can buy online.
But they need to be well placed, the community isn't large but.
Pimoroni outlets tagged onto permanent makerspaces anyone, it's just not practical.

CRC used to have an outlet around here too and use the Maplin 'windows at the back's shopping (much like Toolstation, Screwfix, Argos and other 'catalogue' shops).
That went ages ago.
RS had them too, I'm sure I used one in Sheffield/Leeds way back when.


Maplin downfall, like many others, is half the stuff can be bought in supermarkets or Argos places. So that's most the general consumer market gone.

mikerr
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:27 pm

Android app - Raspi Card Imager - download and image SD cards - No PC required !

PiGraham
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:33 pm

mikerr wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 12:27 pm
and they're gone:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-43223175
"We believe passionately that Maplin has a place on the High Street and that our trust, credibility and expertise meets a customer need that is not supported elsewhere," Mr Harris said.
That's true, but it's not the same as saying Maplin can make money doing it.

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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:52 pm

PiGraham wrote:
Wed Feb 28, 2018 10:57 am
I don't know what the numbers are but I guess the electronics maker market is rather tiny for it to be viable on the highstreet.
I often think that about many shops; those selling beds, furniture and carpets, but also smaller shops which cater for modellers, hobbyists, arts and crafts, the knitting and sewing factions. I suppose it depends on whether one is running a shop as a hobby or a business, whether one wants to just earn a living or more.

To earn a £10K salary one has to make around £200 profit per week, then there's renting a shop front, insurance and bills.

I am convinced many "TV repair" shops and similar are more 'rented garden sheds' for the owner to escape to for peace and quiet than viable businesses.

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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 1:58 pm

Friend of mine runs a hobby place in Telford. In her area, they have abandoned small business rates to encourage shops back on to the high street. And it's still difficult to make a living.
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bensimmo
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 3:16 pm

The Pimoroni part I mentioned was also because they had started selling wares in Maplin.

Still they are still trading and open, just with Administrators running it for the time being.

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thagrol
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Re: Maplin in trouble

Wed Feb 28, 2018 5:31 pm

Before the internet exploded Maplin was OK for a lot of things. Once the big suppliers (and the Chinese) started selling direct to the consumer the only time it made sense to buy leads and components from Maplin was
  1. If the store was nearby (my nearest is a 30 mile round trip)
  2. You needed a particular item right now.
It's almost always cheaper to buy from an online supplier (even a UK based one) these days.

Shame to see them going, but they've been playing second fiddle to the internet for most of the country for years.
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