Buying group AIS has appointed Ulster Stores MD Neville Moore as its new chair, and W J Aldiss MD Darryl Simpson as deputy chair.

Neville has been with Ulster Stores for 41 years. Ulster Stores is a family-owned independent retail group, and the parent company of a collection of four independent flagship department stores, including: Moores of Coleraine and The White House in Portrush, both located on the north coast of Northern Ireland; de Gruchy, based in St Helier in Jersey; and Clares of Llandudno in Wales.

He says: “There has never been a better time to be independent, to differentiate what we do and offer our customers an exciting alternative to much of the current retail landscape. 

“Independents working together was why we joined AIS some 35 years ago, and it's still one of the reasons we are members today. If we have been successful then I can put a fair amount of that down to belonging to AIS – we have learnt much from our peers and gained from the buying strength and support functions.” 

Darryl is responsible for day-to-day business operations of W J Aldiss. Founded in 1892 by the Aldiss family, the business has two stores in Norfolk, and offers a wide range of furniture, homewares, flooring, and giftware. 

The outgoing chair, Stephen McCammon, extended his chairmanship due to Covid-19 and its fallout. He says: "The sense of AIS being led by members and for members has never been greater, and we should engage more to maximise the benefit for all of us. 

“The current economic headwinds will bring further challenges, but I strongly believe the board, the executive and the AIS team are very well placed to rise above the challenges.”

AIS MD Sue Kemp comments: "AIS is a wonderful organisation for independent retail, and is committed to ensuring members thrive. Both Stephen and Neville represent what’s brilliant about this sector – creativity, commercial acumen, and entrepreneurialism - all working together for mutual success.

"I thank Stephen for his enthusiasm and commitment and look forward to working with Neville and Darryl in driving our strategy for our members.”