Banbury health & beauty product distributor breaks £250 million sales barrier

DCS Group

Banbury-based DCS Group, which is now Europe’s largest privately owned distributor of health, beauty and household brands, has just broken through £250 million in sales – a huge milestone in its 26th year, according to its charismatic entrepreneur founder, Denys Shortt.

DCS handles sales and distribution for Gillette, Unilever, P&G, Colgate, L’Oreal, Cussons, SC Johnson and many more.

The group is the UK market leader in the sales and distribution of health, beauty and household brands, with more than 400 employees.

But the business’ success over the past 25 years hasn’t been built on supplying to large grocery retailers. Instead, DCS works closely with wholesalers, convenience stores, beauty chains and discount shops for sales and distribution and launched its own brand, Enliven, from its factory in Stratford-upon-Avon.

This business model put DCS Group in a unique position when Covid-19 struck. While its products, which included items such as toilet rolls and hand sanitiser, were hugely in demand, DCS had to work hard to ensure its supplies were still able to reach the UK.

Research* by Barclays Corporate Banking reveals that UK wholesale and retail businesses intend to use their immediate responses to Covid-19 disruption to accelerate structural change. Whether that’s increasing existing investment in ecommerce and direct-to-consumer sales or creating less complex and more sustainable supply chains, firms are ensuring that short-term disruption creates longer-term opportunities.

Michael Lorimer, Chief Executive at DCS, said: “We saw a lot of growth in demand from convenience stores, particularly in the early days when people perhaps felt they were safer there than in large supermarkets.

“But we had to ensure that we obtained the appropriate stock level. And that wasn’t just about phoning and asking for more stock – we had to make sure it was data-led.

“We jumped very quickly on the right stock for the right customers. Our data and our understanding of how all our different customers worked is what has helped us to keep profits on track,” he adds.

Both Michael and Chief Financial Officer Johnathan Berry credit DCS Group’s core business strategy and staff for their ability to spot opportunities in the crisis.

“We try to always live in a place that is expecting challenge and change, there’s nothing complacent about the way we work,” says Michael. “This year has seen unprecedented change, but we’ve been lucky because we had the right people and the right facilities in place. Everyone, from the employees in the warehouse to those suddenly working from home, was committed to success and it was that teamwork that enabled us to succeed.”

Denys added: “Credit goes to our amazing team and our wonderful customers and suppliers. Thank you.”




  • The report is based on YouGov research commissioned by Barclays Corporate Banking.