Associated Independent Stores
James Crabtree is the menswear controller at Associated Independent Stores (AIS). Crabtree heads the fashion division at AIS; the largest independent non-food buying group of its kind in the UK and Ireland. Where his responsibilities include: managing the retail division, overseeing the INDX Menswear Show, curating and developing the member-exclusive womenswear own-brand merchandise (First Avenue); the brand offers head to toe wardrobe solutions for the modern woman. As well as setting up a bespoke retail buying service that offers members, services tailored to suit their needs including all aspects of buying and merchandising. Over his career of nearly 20 years, he has progressed through various levels at AIS and gained a unique insight into the ever-changing requirements of family-owned, independent retailers. AIS members are all independently run businesses and in a particularly challenging retail environment, Crabtree has worked with AIS member stores; with shop floor design, range planning, financial planning, brand liaison and marketing strategies to develop their menswear business.