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PwC makes job cuts at Maplin and warns of looming store closures

THE FIRST REDUNDANCIES have been made at Maplin after PwC indicated that potential buyers have either not come forward or tabled acceptable offers.

It warned that it will start closing stores unless the bidders can agree terms.

In an update released this week, PwC revealed that it “has been necessary to make a total of 63 redundancies at Maplin’s head offices in London”. Some 55 staff will lose their jobs in London, with eight jobs being lost in Rotherham.

More ominously, though, PwC has indicated that a sale of the company has so far proved elusive.

“Unfortunately, it has not been possible to secure a buyer for the business. While the administrators remain open to interest from potential buyers,” it said.

Joint administrator and PwC partner Toby Underwood added: “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 [branch] closure programme.

“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.”

Maplin was placed in administration on 28 February after talks between its owners, private equity firm Rutland Partners, and retail group Edinburgh Woollen Mills over a rescue deal failed to reach a conclusion.

The company employs more than 2,300 staff, 217 stores and has an annual turnover of £235.8 million.

However, say the administrators, “the company experienced a decline in performance as a result of the softening of consumer demand in what has been a challenging retail environment and higher-priced (US denominated) products”. µ

Source : Inquirer

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