UK buying group appoints new managing director

A Midlands-based buying group has appointed a new managing director as part of a wider transformational agenda.

Sue Kemp brings more than 30 years’ experience to the Associated Independent Stores (AIS) team, following Sheila Cooper’s retirement after 40 years with the company.

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.

Now taking the helm at AIS, Sue’s vast experience will come into play at a crucial time of evolution for the business as she provides leadership, supports staff and clients, and ensures targets are achieved.

The appointment forms part of a wider transformational plan for the business. The group is set to become more commercial and customer focused, and Sue has already kicked this off with the creation of a new Furniture and Home division at AIS. This is the first in a number of changes to strengthen the group’s offering and enhance value and choice for its members.

Sue’s expansive experience in retail- and customer-focused industries, such as Merlin Entertainments and Marks and Spencer, as well as her engaging and people-focused approach, led to her being selected for the role of managing director.

Sue says: “I’m thrilled to be part of a thriving business supporting independent retailers across the UK – now more than ever. I was attracted to AIS as it’s a perfect mix of my experience, knowledge and expertise – not to mention the wealth of opportunities available working for such a successful business.

“AIS has grown and evolved with the fast-changing retail environment, and I look forward to developing the business yet further. I’m particularly focused on supporting my dedicated and talented team as we navigate these uncertain times together with a robust and exciting plan as we look to the future.”

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