Maplin has plunged into administration just hours after last-ditch talks with potential buyer Edinburgh Woollen Mill failed.
The collapse of the electricals retailer, which has put 2,500 jobs at risk, came less than an hour after Toys R Us suffered the same fate on a dark day for the British high street.
Maplin’s owner Rutland Partners had been urgently seeking a solvent sale of the embattled business, with Philip Day’s Edinburgh Woolen Mill (EWM) leading the race to secure a deal.
But Retail Week understands those talks collapsed because EWM wanted Rutland Partners to maintain a stake in the retailer.
However, new boss Graham Harris – who only succeeded Oli Meakin late last year – told Retail Week in January that he was confident of securing funding that would get the business “through this turmoil and allow us to deliver our vision”.
But after failing to secure a solvent sale, Harris said Maplin had been left with “no alternative” but to enter administration.
PwC has been appointed to handle the process.
Maplin stores will continue to trade as normal and it is understood that there are no immediate plans to shutter stores or make redundancies.
Harris said: “The business has worked hard over recent months to mitigate a combination of impacts from sterling devaluation post Brexit, a weak consumer environment and the withdrawal of credit insurance.
“This necessitated an intensive search for new capital that in current market conditions has proved impossible to raise. These macro factors have been the principal challenge not the Maplin brand or its market differentiation.”
He added: “We believe passionately that Maplin has a place on the high street, and that our trust, credibility and expertise meets a customer need that is not supported elsewhere.”