Maplin is understood to be in crunch talks with potential new suitors, including Edinburgh Woollen Mill, as the struggling electricals firm urgently seeks a “solvent sale”.
In a statement, the retailer confirmed it was in advanced talks with “a number of parties” and said it expects to be in a position to announce a “solvent sale of the business within days”.
If Maplin – owned by private equity firm Rutland Partners – fails to secure a deal by the end of this week it may be forced to consider a pre-pack administration, Sky News reported.
As revealed by Retail Week last month, Maplin is urgently seeking fresh investment as its new boss bids to put the firm on a more secure footing.
Maplin’s sales slumped 7% during the crucial festive period, in part due to stock shortages caused by credit insurers cutting their cover last Autumn.
Chief executive Graham Harris – the retailer’s former commercial director who took the reins earlier this year – has also set about cutting the company’s cost base.
His plans include asking landlords for rent reductions on its 200 stores and streamlining head office roles so that the firm is better placed to deliver on its strategic promises.
Commenting on the possible sale, a Maplin spokesman said: “Once secured this will stabilise the business to the benefit of all stakeholders and provide Maplin with the financial firepower to deliver its 2020 multichannel strategy focused on smart tech.”
Edinburgh Woollen Mill
Edinburgh Woollen Mill, owned by the acquisitive Philip Day, has previously snapped up a number of troubled brands, including Austin Reed, Jaeger, Jane Norman and Peacocks.
The fashion group operates more than 1,100 UK stores and concessions and launched a new department store retailer – Days – last year.
Sky sources said PWC, which is advising Rutland on the sale of Maplin, had approached Day some weeks ago and that the two parties were now in active talks.