This morning we’re visiting the Northern Quarter of Manchester, here to chat with Magma shop manager Damion McClung-Oakes.
When and why did you set up Magma Manchester?
I could answer this on behalf of the owners. I joined Magma shortly after they opened a store in Manchester. At that point Magma had 2 successful stores in Covent Garden and Clerkenwell but were looking to expand outside of London. I think the Northern Quarter area of Manchester was recommended to them by various contacts within the book trade.
How do you lay out the magazines around the shop and how did you decide on that set up?
This will vary from store to store. Our stock is very much tailored towards the demands of our customers. In the Manchester store we have two magazine sections. These are constantly changing. We don’t label any sections and we are able to be fluid and respond to our current stock. At the moment we are experimenting with mixing books alongside magazines. The important thing is how they relate to each other and how our customers respond to them.
Who are your customers?
We know a lot of our customers. One of the benefits of being a smaller store is that we can offer them a personal service. A lot of fashion students visiting our store and they are much more knowledgeable on the subject than any of the staff here. Its interesting to listen to them and respond to their tastes and recommendations. I’m sure they enjoy it when a title they have suggested becomes permanent stock.
What has the biggest challenge been?
Well it’s a challenge to make a profit from selling magazines! We have to be very much on top of what is selling, what is dying, keeping the right amount of stock, returning unsold magazines on time. The margins are very low so unfortunately magazines can only have limited space within our stores. It means we have to be selective, we need big sellers but we also want to offer something different and interesting to our customers.
What changes have you seen in the magazines since you opened?
Nobody bought magazines about food or hiking when I first started working here! It was very much graphics and graffiti. Responding to those changes is one of the more interesting aspects of working at Magma. Somebody asks me about a magazine I’ve never heard of on a weekly basis!