Maplin is to spend £2m revamping its entire store estate this year as the electronics specialist looks to improve the shopping experience and maintain its improving sales trend.
The remodeled format, which has been trialed in four stores, comprises deeper ranges as well as improved store navigation, lighting, and merchandising. The new format, which also features more video demonstrations on screens in store, will be rolled out to all 204 stores by July.
Maplin’s information desks, which feature computer terminals and catalogues, have been brought to the front of stores to allow shoppers to browse its full range online while signage has been revamped throughout the trial stores in Maidenhead, Rotherham, Andover and Crewe.
Chief executive John Cleland told Retail Week: “Customers said they were finding the stores hard to shop and were having to ask members of staff to find products. We have stripped out the glass cabinets, put in 15-20% more SKUs and made ranges easier to navigate.”
Cleland said like-for-like sales in the year to December 2012 were flat after four years of decline while total sales grew 4.5% after improving availability. However, he expects EBITDA for the year to be down as the retailer battles a difficult climate.
Maplin has begun price matching competitors including Dixons and independents locally and introduced free delivery for products not in stock to better compete in the highly competitive market.
The retailer hired its first multichannel director Ryan Thomas last year.
Cleland said: “We are multichannel and not omnichannel, the range and pricing are not fully aligned across all channels.”
Maplin intends to use direct vendors to more than double its range of 15,000 SKUs online and “move from a 4,000 sq ft store to a virtual 20,000 sq ft shop”.
Maplin raised £20m of credit from Lloyds Bank Wholesale Banking & Markets last year to invest in new stores and online.