Maplin & EWM rescue talks hit sticking point as deadline looms

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Maplin

Maplin is scrambling to secure capital by tomorrow in order to avoid being the next high street casualty by declining into administration.

According to Sky News, the electronics retailer is locked in talks with its potential buyer Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM) – which owns the eponymous retail chain as well as Austin Reed, Jaeger, Jane Norman and Peacocks – to secure a rescue deal by the end of February.

It is understood that EWM is pushing for Maplin’s current owner Rutland to retain a stake in the company and said that it “must be willing to play a role in the future of the company”.

This has put the brakes on talks while the deadline for Maplin to pay up for tens of millions in liabilities is fast approaching at the start of March.

Rutland is reportedly open to the idea, but the pressure is on to hash out what the new ownership will look like, though sources say it could take the form of a pre-pack administration.

The deal comes after a difficult Christmas period for Maplin, which saw sales drop seven per cent.

This was in part due to the loss of suppliers’ insurance on Maplin’s goods, resulting in stock shortages.

Should EWM secure a deal with Maplin, the electronics retailer’s 2500 staff would join the 24,000 that make up Philip Day’s retail empire, which is fast becoming one of the biggest players in British retail.

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