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Maplin Electronics is a retailer of electronic goods in the UKmarker and Irelandmarker. As of February 2009, there are 160 Maplin Electronics stores in the United Kingdom, with a further three opening this year. Additionally, it operates an extensive web and catalogue based mail-order service.


Early beginnings in Essex and catalogue

Maplin Electronic Supplies was established in 1972 as a small mail order business by Roger Allen and Doug Simmons and assisted by Roger's wife Sandra. The company was based in a bedroom at the Allen's home in Rayleigh, Essex after the two electronics enthusiasts were disappointed by the failings of existing suppliers of electronic components. They took out a small advertisement in an electronics magazine after printing the company's first 28 page catalogue which would be offered free to callers. Despite a slow start and no profit in the first year the company began to build a reputation for offering first grade electronic components which could be delivered exactly as shown in the catalogue by first class post.

By 1975 the catalogue had grown to 216 pages with technical specifications and complete projects and the founders realised that an actual retail outlet would be beneficial. The first store opened in nearby Westcliff on Sea, with the mail order business moving in above the shop. Sales received a large boost when Maplin was invited to take prime advertising space in IPC electronics magazines after receiving a number of complaints against some of their existing advertisers. A second store opened in Hammersmith before the year was out.

Move to South Yorkshire

In 1985 Maplin Professional Supplies (MPS) was created to service the expanding business market with a catalogue of products selected specifically for professionals and the business market. In 1989 a new National Distribution Centre was opened at Wombwellmarker, South Yorkshiremarker and four years later a Far Eastern headquarters was established in Taiwanmarker.

By 1994 Maplin had a turnover of more than £29 million a year and it was clear more help was needed to organise the business so late that year Maplin was acquired by Saltire PLC.

In 1999 Maplin launched its own website and the following year sales from the site hit £1m. The Southend on Sea headquarters also closed in 2000 and all operations were moved to the Wombwell base. In 2001 the company changed hands again, this time with management buyout backed by Graphite Capital.

Recent activity

Former Maplin Electronics logo.
In 2004 Montagu Private Equity purchased 67% of Maplin from Graphite Capital at a cost of £244m. In 2007 the company began to relocate its headquarters and distribution centre to a new facility at Brookfields Park on the former Manvers Main Collierymarker, Rotherhammarker, just two miles from the old warehouse in Wombwell.

A total of 26 new stores were opened in 2007 and a further 15 were rebranded in the new Maplin format. As of February 2009, there are 160 Maplin Electronics stores, one of which opened this year.. The company has a medium term goal of 250 retail stores throughout the UK and the Ireland, before expanding abroad.It is Montagu's vision to float Maplin Electronics on the LSE when economic conditions are right.

Maplin Electronics became the current sponsor of the UK Snooker Championship in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

Product range

Maplin sell a variety of electrical equipment such as audio/visual devices, electrical components, computer components, cables, TV and satellite equipment and everyday electrical items such as batteries, light bulbs, power adaptor and solar energy panel. The company also sell MP3 player, portable televisions and satellite navigation equipment. The target market ranges from the general consumer to the more technical electronics hobbyist.


  2. Maplin Electronics, Graphite Capital
  3. Montagu Private Equity announces £244 million acquisition of Maplin Electronics
  4. Store Openings

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