Maplin was founded in 1972 as a mail-order business selling computer components and home electronics. Since 1999, it has focused on retailing and now has 100 stores in Britain and Ireland, with plans to open a further 16 this year. In July 2001, management bought out the company, backed by £42m from Graphite Capital. Last July Graphite’s 70% stake was bought out by Montagu Private Equity in a deal worth £244m. Increased sales volumes, tight control over stock and supply-chain improvements have helped Maplin’s profits grow 52% a year from £4.9m in 2000 to £17.4m in 2003.
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