Maplin is to target businesses with a new fascia offering bulk discounts, which it plans to pilot in Sheffield.
The electricals specialist is poised to open Maplin Trade in Hillsborough next February, Retail Week can reveal.
The 3,500 sq ft shop will offer accounts for businesses with ex-VAT prices and large ranges of CCTV equipment, lighting and cables for companies’ computer systems.
Maplin chief executive John Cleland told Retail Week: “The store will offer a broader range with bulk discounts. People are after large systems and we want to test the market.”
The fascia will offer shoppers the electricals equivalent of Kingfisher’s Screwfix trade fascia.
Cleland said Maplin had turned its performance around as a result of a revamp of its 211 stores after enduring a difficult start to the year.
He said: “The first half of the year was tough. The bad weather impacted the start of 2013 and then food and fashion enjoyed a strong July but it remained difficult. Since August, we have had the best positive like-for-likes in five years.”
Maplin’s revamped stores – in which it created extra space through range reviews and new merchandising – have incrementally improved like-for-likes in each store by 2.5%.
Cleland said: “The relay of the stores has created an extra 11% of space without the need to pay any extra rent.”
He added that its sponsorship of the Channel 5’s The Gadget Man, the growth in popularity of DIY electronics kits and the addition of new categories such as telescopes had attracted custom.
However, the retailer is struggling to find sites to reach its ultimate 300-store target. Cleland said its aim for the year had been 27 openings but it has only opened 16 shops with a further six in the pipeline.