Associated Independent Stores (AIS) has launched a new Furniture and Home division to help further develop its offering, increase efficiency and promote synergy across its homeware teams.

Led by Julian Cox, the move will see AIS encompass all of its owned furniture, flooring, linens and homeware brands, including Stag Furniture, Ducal Furniture and Flooring One, into a single department. Working collaboratively to provide an improved product offering and better pricing, the new structure aims to create a lifestyle approach to home furnishings, futureproof the organisation, and allow independent retailers to offer their customers better value and choice.

AIS is the largest independent non-food buying group of its kind in the UK and Ireland, providing members with access to major brands in a wide variety of merchandise categories.

The move will consolidate the previously separate divisions into a new, dedicated furniture and home team, allowing AIS to implement "a co-ordinated approach to trend insight and encompass a new, strategic way for independent retailers to tailor their product offerings to meet consumer purchasing habits".

Julian Cox, director of furniture and home at AIS (pictured), says: “We’re delighted to be launching our new furniture and home division, which will bring a variety of benefits to both our organisation and its members.

“In these unusual times, it is more important than ever to ensure that independent retailers are the primary choice for consumers. Building on our strong supplier relationships, the new divisional structure will provide our talented team of buyers with an opportunity to collaborate and make the most of the expertise on hand, ultimately offering members increased growth and profitability.

“I’m thrilled to be leading and helping to nurture the talented team here at AIS. For the first time in our long history we’ve got all of our home teams working towards the same goal, with a clear direction. AIS has grown and evolved with the fast-changing retail environment, and I look forward to leading the new division as we take this exciting step.”