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Socoder -> Off Topic -> Maplin Downhill - changing times

Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 14:41
Looks like Maplin are quietly fading away - went in Boston shop today and there's a closing down sale. Picked up a couple of spares for the heat press since they were 20 % off. Probly my last visit ever which is a shame cos I like Maplin.
Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 14:41
Maplin didn’t show up in Bolton until the mid 2000’s, by which point Tandy was long since gone.
I excitedly rushed to the new store, expecting a Tandy replacement.
It wasn’t anything of the sort.
Goods that resembled something from a shitty knock off Argos, but at twice the price you’d ever pay for them.
Sure, they had a few cables and connectors, but by the time the store opened, "online" had happened, and the place had no chance.

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Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 15:31
The range of stuff is probably a lot of the problem. They sell everything from TVs and drones, to bits of wire and spade connectors.

I quite like that about it - I often go in for a bit of a walkabout. But I appreciate I'm in a minority.

It's sad though, that there's certain things I'll now have to rely on internet for; i.e. the DPST switches I picked up today. It's either eBay now, or.... where? Where else would you go for things like that? I guess the business models that worked fine in the 90s, just don't any more.
Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 15:48
In Bolton we used to have a WONDERFUL shop called "Gregory & Porritts" which I'm fairly sure was just a Bolton store, not a chain. Although I might be wrong, there!
It was first and foremost a Lighting shop, but they extended to all manner of furniture-based electronics. Not your typical TVs/Stereos/HiFi/etc, but things that felt like luxury furniture. It was great to wander around that store.
Right in the middle were two giant tables, full of small wooden sectioned "bins", and each bin had it's own set of "bits". Connectors, plugs, resistors, fuses, little bulbs.. allsorts. It'd put Tandy's supply to shame.

It was always nice to go in there, and nosey at all the little doodads, even if I never really did anything electronically minded.

That shop moved further out from the town center, and last I heard, the tables of bins were no more... And a quick Google suggests that even the new store is now gone.

But we'll never forget it. The main "Not quite the bus-station, but close enough" bus stop is just outside where the original Gregory & Porritt's used to be, and everyone knows it as "Gregory & Porritt's Street" despite it not being called that, and the shop not having been there for a good 20 years or so..

Aaah, memories..

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Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 16:02
Apparently they're called Exclusive Lighting Ltd now, since the early 2000s.

The only Gregory & Porritts listed with Companies House, was registered in 2010 and is a dormant company, registered in Merseyside. The only director, Jonathan Stoker (49), is also director of 25 other limited companies, including some holding companies as Gregory & Porritts appears to be. I can't see that he has any links to Exclusive Lighting Ltd so the company name is likely just a coincidence, and the old Gregory & Porritts was likely run by sole traders and consequently never registered at companies house.

It's all a bit odd....
Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 16:08
Odd, but one of those great shops that used to be.. .

This online thing has a lot to answer for!!

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Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 16:09
Hmm... apparently Stoker owned Gregory & Porritts, and shut it down five years ago. Some gripe with the rent on the premises...

Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 16:13
Bolton's lost a lot, over the years. It all started to go downhill when all the out-of-town things started popping up. The town center moved further and further away, then the only draws like Woolworths and the Local Cinema all shut down, leaving nothing more than a bunch of clothes stores.

But that's the story of a lot of towns.
In our nearby area, only Bury has managed to stay relevant, as they relaunched themselves with a great big new "Mall, but not a Mall" shiopping experience.
Bolton's just gone from closure to closure, and ...
We got a new bus station, recently, but there's no bloody point in using it, as there's naff all left in town.

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Posted : Wednesday, 21 March 2018, 16:26
Place where I grew up is the same - parents still live there so I have to go back from time to time, and it's an utter shithole now.

There used to be a 3-storey library, loads of independent shops including three supermarkets, four banks, police and fire station, busy market every Wednesday and Saturday, playing field with proper goal posts....

Two schoolkids burned the library to the ground. There's a new one now but it's crap.
The supermarkets are gone, and there's just an Asda now, that used to be a Netto.
All the banks have gone.
The fire station is gone.
The police station is like Willy Wonka's gaff - nobody ever goes in, nobody ever comes out.
The market has been reduced to a couple of stalls of people selling second hand rubbish.
Three schools have been knocked down, and new one built right on the edge of town.
The old school site is earmarked for a bigger Asda. Cos what that place REALLY needs is a bigger fucking Asda.:/
All the small independent shops have been replaced with pizza and kebab shops.
Most of the houses have been bought by private landlords and rented out to any old vermin.
The field we used to play football on is now a road, and what's left of the grassy bit at the side is ankle-deep in dog shit.

Go up there at night and every window has steel shutters - it's like driving through Bosnia.

It's fucking heartbreaking to see it like that. It was awesome when we were growing up. Very nice place and everybody wanted to live there. Most people who lived on the street when we were kids, stayed there til they died. Now there's different people in every other month and you wouldn't trust any of the fuckers.
Posted : Thursday, 22 March 2018, 00:28
The problem with me with Maplin, and many other retailers is... Stores... Well, more so rent, rent is fucking expensive nowadays, and they only have so much room.

When you go on their website to buy something, I always find, yes, it is expensive, because lets face it, there are overheads here, but you want it today, so, that takes the issue of price away... Order->Collect@store


But if you browse their website, they have millions of products listed, but unless its just a cable or a common accessory, they wont have it, and you have two choices, travel miles to the nearest store that has it, or, get it delivered.

Oh look, the nearest store is in Middlesbrough that has it... That's a 62 mile round trip, one and a half hours... FUCK THAT!!!

So, what I do, generally, is go on to Amazon, I'm on prime, so 9/10 I get free next day delivery, its usually cheaper as well... That'll do!

Now the store in the Arnison Centre which is a retail park near me, hasnt been open for 5 minutes, but when it did, I knew the score anyway... Because this sorta stuff happened at my local Argos in Durham City, massive rents... HUGE in fact, but, they now have relocated inside my local Sainsburys where I shop (Which is in the Arnison)... I can see Argos going the same way eventually, but you can see they have tried to keep up, difference is, they dont need "shop space" really, its just a few tablets kicking around, checkouts and as far as the rest of the space goes, thats for stock!

The problem is now, and this is what Maplin should've done... Amazon are on the march (When havent they really?), but they even have 2 hour delivery service going now... They are striding forward their service, and the likes of Maplin and Currys/PC World are using all their space for shop floor, yet, stock fucking nothing... I've lost count over the years where Ive went into Currys/PC World for something, be it a laptop, washer, hoover and the product I've spied, on the shelf, the one I've wanted, hasnt been in stock...

It gets to the point where its pointless even going, its much easier and more reliable to just fire up Amazon, get it delivered, and saving a bit of money in the process.

Anyway, back to Maplin, I think what they should've done is close down all their shops, and just hired/bought a unit and done online only, like Amazon have done with Amazon Now (Up my way they are based in Team Valley), yes, jobs would be lost, but, they may of saved a few as well... Something like that doesnt just consist of a storeman, theres proper infastructure needed, so employees could've been offered a different role within the company, and they'd probably be pleased because handling the public is a twat most of the time!

Unfortunately, its all about adapting and surviving, Maplin, and most others mind ToysRUs didnt, they just plodded along with their heads up their arse expecting it to be alright.

I'm not an expert at this by no means, but, I shop, and, to be fair, the no stock but shiney shop thing did my head in, because like I said, 9/10 going to these places means, you need to get it delivered anyway, there is no point in going anymore.


Intel Core i5 6400 2.7GHz, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 (8GB), 8Gig DDR4 RAM, 256GB SSD, 1TB HDD, Windows 10 64bit
Posted : Thursday, 22 March 2018, 02:24
I went in my local Maplin about a week ago, they've slimmed the shelving down to a couple of isles now. Wanted a RasPi 3 case, looks like someone ate all the Pi's including any accessories.
Posted : Thursday, 22 March 2018, 02:27
Jayenkai Maplin didn’t show up in Bolton until the mid 2000’s

This one opened about 30 years ago, about 1987/1988 roughly, Tandy shut down a few years later.
Posted : Thursday, 22 March 2018, 02:27
The retail park our Maplin is in, there are four shops - all big-ish ones. There's B&M, Maplin, and the other two units are empty and have been for years. The last company in one of 'em was Currys, and they merged that with PC world on the other side of town about five years ago.

When Maplin goes, 3 of the 4 units will be empty. You'd think the owners would realise the rent is too fucking high when their property is stood empty and earning fuck all for that long.
Posted : Thursday, 22 March 2018, 02:31
It looks like most of the High Street names that we grew up with are either gone, going or having a really rough time -


- to name just a few. M&S has reduced a large number of their outlets, but has opened up small depts in larger petrol filling stations etc.

The lay of the land is definitely changing.

As for a Tandy/Maplins alike, we used to have an old hardware store in Bletchley, called Pollards, that moved to a smaller town (and a smaller shop) about a mile or so down the road. That eventually shut down. The original was a lovely quaint old place, full of oddments you just couldn't get anywhere else. It was exactly like the "Four Candles" sketch on the Two Ronnies. We do still however have another one similar in Stony stratford, about 7 miles away although it isn't as large as the first Pollards store. However, I suspect that that's probably on life support too.
Posted : Thursday, 22 March 2018, 03:43
General offline retail is slowly dying in the sea of convenience.

Web / Game Dev, occasionally finishes off coding games also!

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Posted : Thursday, 22 March 2018, 03:46
Convenience is "shit, I need a wire.. TO TANDY!!!"
Inconvenience is "shit, I need a wire.. ... ... wait until tomorrow's amazon delivery which probably won’t turn up until 6pm again.."

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Posted : Thursday, 22 March 2018, 06:56
I know quite a few people in the retail industry and many are closing down their shops/franchise operations and going online - or just plain giving up. It's not that they don't want to have a physical store in the high street, but that the high street has forced them out - through incredibly high rent, ridiculous maintenance and service charges, and annual increases that are unsustainable.

You see all those crappy little shops that crop up for a couple of months and then go (especially around xmas)? They're temporary rentals let out at stupidly low rates just so the landlords can get a few quid in. Do they not understand that if they charged reasonable rates then better businesses would stay in place - for a heck of a lot longer - and keep a nice steady income.

Maplin was just a badly managed mess of a company. Once they started to appear on the highstreet and eventually "replace" the failing Tandy, it all went downhill. Best thing to come out of Maplin were those amazing sci-fi covers for their early 80's magazines.

Yes, I've used Maplin from time to time - but only through necessity. Most often they don't have what I want.

Hey ho.