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Manchester indie Oi Polloi opens in London

Manchester menswear independent Oi Polloi has opened a store at 1 Marshall Street in London’s Carnaby.

The two-storey 1,170 sq ft store opened on April 28, 13 years after co-founders Nigel Lawson and Steve Sanderson launched their first store in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in 2002.

The new store stocks an edited selection of brands found in the Manchester branch, including Engineered Garments, Beams Plus, Fjällräven, Nike, Norse Projects, Clarks Originals, Nudie Jeans, Edwin and Levi’s Vintage Clothing.

“We’ve been thinking about opening a London store for a while, but now the timing feels spot on so we’ve gone for it,” said Sanderson.

“We do around 60% to 65% of our business online now and we have a healthy following in London, so opening a store there made sense. We have a track record with the online customers plus you have all the media, TV and creative industries that are based round there so it’s a good location for us.”

The Manchester store is 1,600 sq ft on one floor, but the new London store is smaller and set across two floors.

“It’s actually very similar to the layout of our first store on Manchester’s Tib Street, which was also over two floors,” he said. Oi Polloi moved to its current location on Thomas Street in 2005.

“We’ve got very heavy running costs as you can imagine, so we want to get in there and hit the ground running. We’ve done a soft launch and we’ll be doing an opening event in July.

“We want to find our feet to get ourselves up and running properly, but we’re in it for the long game so there’s no rush.”

Sanderson said the Manchester store is performing well at the moment and that they are working to introduce click-and-collect at a later date.

“We are very much about real shops and online. It’s a little bit like vinyl – good real independent shops are few and far between. We like shops because you can get a proper experience. We try our best online but we’re a big believer in actual shops.”

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