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First redundancies made as administrators struggle to find buyer for beleaguered retailer

PUBLISHED: 14:19 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 17:42 08 March 2018

Maplin in Castle Meadow, Norwich. Picture: D faulkner

Maplin in Castle Meadow, Norwich. Picture: D faulkner

Archant

Fears are growing for electronics retailer Maplin after administrators made 63 redundancies as they struggle to find a buyer.

The fate of more than 2,500 jobs hangs in the balance after the company, which has stores in Norwich, King’s Lynn, Lowestoft and Ipswich, fell into administration last week.

The group, owned by private equity firm Rutland Partners, called in PwC last week after attempts to rescue the chain failed.

Staff at Maplin’s offices in London and Rotherham will be affected by the cull, with the accountancy firm also warning that a buyer has yet to be found for the chain.

Toby Underwood, joint administrator and PwC partner, said: “It is with real regret that we have made this decision.

“We are grateful for the support of the employees during this difficult period and we will make every effort to help the affected staff, working with the Maplin HR team over the coming days.

“The company is continuing to trade but due to a lack of interest we may be required to initiate a controlled closure programme.”

A total of 2,500 jobs are at risk if a buyer cannot be found and Maplin’s 217 stores are shut.

At the time of the chain’s collapse, Maplin boss Graham Harris said the retailer has been struggling to mitigate the impact of the pound’s devaluation after the Brexit vote, a weak consumer environment and the withdrawal of credit insurance.

High street chains across the board have been hit hard by falling consumer spending, soaring inflation and competition from online rivals.

The sector has had a dismal start to 2018, with the collapse of Toys R Us and a host of firms undergoing painful restructurings, including New Look and eateries run by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, as well as Byron and Prezzo.

“We still believe there is strong value in the company and we remain focused on doing all we can to preserve the business while we continue trying to achieve a sale,” Mr Underwood added.

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