AISexhibitionBig-ticket furniture sales trended up in high single-digits for members of buying group Associated Independent Stores in 2014–15, building on 4.2 per cent growth the year before.

Through its Cenpac paying agent, the stores group processed £202m of furniture supplier invoices on behalf of members in the year to end June, up 7.1 per cent on 2013–14.

Solihull based AIS represents some of the UK’s premier independent furniture and department store retailers, making its Cenpac turnover a performance barometer for the furniture category nationwide.

Furniture represented 43 per cent of AIS’ total Cenpac turnover, which was up 4.4 per cent to £477m net of VAT.

Its Flooring One division, whose members comprise carpet and floorcoverings retailers, saw its Cenpac throughput rise 18 per cent to £30.5m, having risen 15 per cent the year before.

That was aided by growth in the number of members, with a net three joining to bring the total to 137 with 197 stores. Total AIS membership declined by a net five to 348, operating over 1,300 shops across furniture, department stores, flooring, toys, sports and garden centres.

AIS profit before tax, member rebate and bad debt rose 12.6 per cent to £2.3m, with statutory pre-tax profit rising 13.9 per cent to £1.3m. Member rebate totalled £600,000, up from £550,000 the prior year.