Pricecheck began life in 1978 as Pricecheck Toiletries, a local retail business, before the Lythe family expanded it into a health & beauty wholesale operation.

By 2020, Pricecheck had achieved its ambitious £100M turnover target and the company launched its new and improved B2B eCommerce site to drive online sales. Due to growth, Pricecheck acquired a warehouse in Manvers in addition to its purpose built HQ and warehouse facility in Beighton, Sheffield which doubled its pallet capacity.

Pricecheck’s vision is to be the first-choice distribution partner for brand owners and customers across the world, with ambitious plans to increase turnover to £200M.

Darren Goldney, commercial director, Pricecheck, tells Wholesale Manager what his goals are and how Pricecheck is performing as a business.

Where have you worked before and in what roles?

My career started through a commercial graduate programme at Coca-Cola, where I spent over 20 great years. As a cash and carry rep, I worked in every sector, managing the field sales team before progressing to Sales Director for wholesale and impulse channels. Going from a major brand like Coca-Cola, I then joined Whitworths as MD for its brand division before joining Palmer and Harvey as Commercial Director for their van sales operation. My experience working with leading and competitor brands, combined with a wholesale perspective, landed me the position of MD at Today’s then Unitas. Working with 170 different businesses was brilliant and put me in contact with Pricecheck, where I took on an exciting new journey as Commercial Board Director. And I haven’t looked back since!

What does your current role involve?

My role at Pricecheck can be summarised in two words – business transformation. We’re on a journey to achieve £200m turnover, and as Commercial Director, I help to plot the course. Pricecheck is a great example of a business that recognises wholesale can be so much more than a good range, price or service. We are going beyond wholesale in the traditional sense; our differentiated business model means we can build more partnerships that make us integral to a brand’s business. On the back of an efficient wholesale structure, we have developed our capabilities, both operational (like contract packing and B2C), through to brand sales and support. It’s easier said than done, and has involved new insight reporting capabilities, the launch of our brand training academy, and digital and logistical investments.

What are your goals for what you want to achieve in the role?

Like most people, numbers are on my mind. But as I’ve progressed, it’s become genuinely more important to take pride in what we do as a business and to be seen as a best-in-class option, especially for our new areas. My goal is to achieve a sustainable business model for growth that the industry recognises and supports, and one that colleagues are energised to be a part of. Providing an excellent service for our brand partners is important, and by 2026 we expect 50% of revenue to be generated from this area. By adopting a menu approach, our partners can choose the services they need to meet brand objectives. Having strong sales systems and controls in place means we can walk the walk when it comes to a targeted approach.

How is Pricecheck performing as a business?

Pricecheck has an incredible growth story and one that I can take little credit for since it started well before my time! Despite Covid and Brexit challenges, Pricecheck’s turnover has tripled over the last seven years, and I’m excited to see where we can go in the future. Pricecheck is always willing to invest in its people and infrastructure and now has a team of more than 350 people. This puts us in a strong position to attract both challenger and leading brands who can have confidence in our specialist team.

How is the company’s B2B eCommerce site performing?

Over the last five years, we’ve seen a huge growth in B2B eCommerce that goes beyond our transactional website. Covid has been a key driver, with web sales up by 300% compared to before the pandemic. To keep up, we’ve invested in new features, from improved search facilities to personalised product recommendations. But rest assured, we are still a people-focused business with feet on the street. Digital expansion has also accelerated in B2C. As well as supporting selected brand partners on Amazon, we now have the capacity to manage the front and back end of our brand partners’ websites. It’s no surprise digital business in these areas has tripled!

How many products does Pricecheck supply and what categories do they cover?

At any point in time, we have over 8,000 SKUs in stock – half of which are regular distribution, with the other being rotational lines. This balance serves various customer needs; those who want a regular range, those looking for something different, and customers who want both! Our products now span over 16 categories, including food and drink, household, fragrance, and vaping, on top of our toiletries and beauty heritage, and we are always keen to partner with credible brands with ambition.

Are there any new products in the ranges you want to talk about?

All of them! If I was to narrow it down, I’m especially proud of the work we’ve done with brands like Astonish and Batiste. Both are brilliant but previously lacked a footprint in convenience. In partnership with these brands, we have launched smaller cases and price-marked packs, hitting that sweet spot of better value for consumers and even better trade margins for our partners. Our PMP and fit for wholesale product range is growing, and with a low minimum order volume, it certainly helps.

How has the wholesale industry changed in recent years?

In my early career, I was brought up in a culture that suggested wholesale was nothing more than a cost-efficient route to market. While this still works for some major brands with guaranteed demand, there has been a clear shift in business models, including ours. It’s no longer what I’d just call wholesale – more businesses are adapting to fulfil gaps that brand partners already have or to defocus resource in areas such as logistics, digital, marketing and sales. Instead of just being about moving boxes efficiently, wholesalers now have a genuine influence over what boxes are selling and where. I think this space will offer more growth in the future and liberate brands to focus on what they do best – understanding the consumer through aligning products with their needs.

How digital is Pricecheck as a business, and do you offer any IT support for your members e.g. ordering apps, online support, delivery tracking?

This has certainly been a big investment area for us. Digital is a broad term to many people, and often the focus is on generating sales, but technology also helps with warehouse operations, planning and logistics. Despite being areas people don’t see, digital has helped us to drive down costs and improve our services behind the scenes. We have seen this with our new warehouse management system, which has improved visibility and efficiency. On the front-of-house side, our up-to-date website supports with customer interactivity, and we’ve invested in all the major platforms that are required to manage online orders and fulfilment. My digital prowess still does not extend much beyond ‘switch it on and off again’ advice, but luckily, I’m surrounded by people who go several steps above that!



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