Maplin, the electronics specialist retail chain, is an iconic brand with a tech-savvy customer base. Having started in 1972 as a small mail order business, Maplin has grown considerably over the years and has established itself as a national electronics chain with over 210 stores across the UK and Ireland. Its retail model is based on technological solutions and product advice built on a strong brand identity and a loyal customer base.
After a challenging few years, a new management team was introduced in 2012, led by John Cleland, CEO, to fundamentally reposition the business in a rapidly changing environment. In particular, they have refreshed the store experience, invested in a new web platform and refocused the business on innovation and 'first in, last out' product ranges that so appealed to customers historically. In addition, the business has invested heavily in online cross channel retailing and fulfilment disciplines, all of which are contributing to a recovery in the business.
Rutland focusses on special situations where, through change, restructuring and investment, it can help improve the business. Maplin represents an exciting opportunity for Rutland to build on recently improved performance in the business and help management deliver a broad based strategic plan aimed at releasing its further potential. Rutland is backing John Cleland and the incumbent management team.
Maplin is the first investment from Rutland Fund III. The transaction was led on behalf of Rutland by Nick Morrill, Ben Slatter, Tristan Craddock and Mike Reynolds.
Rutland's investment was supported by specialist acquisition finance provider, Investec Growth & Aquisition Finance.
Nick Morrill of Rutland, said:
"We are delighted to be able to invest in Maplin and recognise the great progress made by management so far in the recovery of the business but more importantly the potential still to be unlocked. We believe our history and the focus of our investment strategy differentiates us in the private equity market. It makes us a powerful and supportive investment partner, able to make a real difference to the success of Maplin and we are excited by the challenge in front of us all."
John Cleland, CEO of Maplin, said:
"Our strategic plans for Maplin represent substantial growth in sales and profit, continuing on the journey already mapped out that focusses on improved customer experience in all key channels, substantially broadening our range of products and innovation, and investing in our ability to offer the best electronics and technical advice to our customers. The management look forward to working closely with Rutland Partners in the future; they bring a wealth of strategic and operational experience which Maplin will benefit from as they support us in our plans to take the business forward."
James Stirling of Investec, said:
"Maplin's offering is unique on the high street and consistently scores highly for customer satisfaction. Under John Cleland's leadership and Rutland's ownership it has a great opportunity to build an exciting future. Investec is very pleased to be part of the next chapter in Maplin's story."