There is untapped potential for magazine-only stores across the UK thanks to the demand of creative communities, a specialist distributor has told RN.

Father and son team Bill and Tom Stocker of MMS said the future of magazines lies with stores that focus solely on the category and they believe there is opportunity for specialist retailers in towns and cities across the country.

“People will travel for quality magazines. They want to hold them and smell the ink, not order them online,” said Bill, who founded the company in 1998.

“The industry has changed a lot and more newsagents will close, but the ones that are left will do it better. They know there is no point selling the top 100 titles if they are the same titles that are sold down the road at a WHSmith.

“It is best to display niche titles full-facing and make the look of the shop smart and attractive. The best retailers will walk the shop floor with their customers and talk to them about their range.”

The company only distributes titles outside the bestsellers list and mainly gains new publishers through referrals from the ones it already works with. It also recently picked up a number of new titles in the wake of Comag’s announcement it will cease trading at the end of this month, including popular women’s style and culture magazine The Gentlewoman and men’s fashion title Fantastic Man.

As well as new magazine stores opening, the duo believe the number of niche titles available will continue to grow.

“You can make a magazine about anything, as long as you know enough about something and you have the skills to do it. A lot of the publishers we work with are one-man bands,” said Tom.

“The titles are often priced at £10 or above, so the margins are great for retailers.”