Maplin unveils "strong" trading amid credit insurer concerns

 
Oliver Gill
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Rutland Partners bought Maplin for £85m in 2014

Tech retailer Maplin today hit back at reports the high-street chain is facing an uncertain future, bringing forward an announcement on full-year trading.

The firm unveiled a 0.3 per cent like-for-like sales increase, adding that Black Friday trading had been "strong".

Maplin took the unusual move to quash concerns it was facing difficulties after revelations one of its leading credit insurers, QBE, "pulled cover" – where an insurance firm is no longer prepared to vouch for a firm in return for a premium from suppliers.

Meanwhile, Lloyds took additional security from Maplin at the end of October, according to a Companies House filing. It is understood Lloyds provides a foreign currency facility to the retailer.

New banking arrangements had been put in place at the end of 2016. Wells Fargo replaced Investec with facilities that "improved debt maturity profile, a lower funding cost and greater headroom".

Read more: Maplin appoints Darren Shapland as chairman

Maplin kicked off a multi-year investment programme at the start of the year. Earnings fell from £13.2m to £12.3m, though the firm said this was partly a result of the "2020 vision" investment.

"We are confident that Maplin has a winning strategy and the financial flexibility to navigate what is a challenging retail backdrop," said Maplin chief executive Oliver Meakin.

We have re-energised the business and laid the foundations of the new strategy, which focuses on providing customers with expert advice and installation, to be delivered across a seamless, modern multichannel offering.

Maplin is owned by the former owners of turkey firm Bernard Matthews, private equity house Rutland Partners.

Read more: Suitors abuzz over Maplin after backers plug in for £200m sale

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