NEW YORK— Mara Mahon Cohen Magnozzi, general manager of the former May Department Stores, died late last month. She was 87 years old.

Magnozzi started her professional career at Abraham & Straus, a New York City department store based in Brooklyn, as a comparison shopper. After some time there she went to work for E.J. Korvette, also known as Korvettes, as fashion director.

In the late seventies Magnozzi was the general manager of a May Department Stores International division called Alpha. She created and set up this program with outside, private vendors including such resources as Calvin Klein, Tahari and Andrew Rosen.

The goal of the Alpha division at the time was to utilize their overseas offices and personnel in order to lower and share the costs and expenses while trying to develop and enhance their direct import volume. In a short time the volume generated exceeded expectations and proved to be a success.

Magnozzi was an accomplished retailer knowledgable in the areas of textiles, fashion, and international commerce. Her expertise was sought out by specialist in her field from North America, Europe, and Asia.

Before totally retiring from the industry about five ago, Magnozzi had still been active as a consultant to many.

Magnozzi is survived by a son, Dean; 3 daughters, Lisa Mahon, Christine Ranieri and Kerry Wheelehan; seven grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.