Founders and senior directors of Britain’s leading private mid-market growth companies celebrated their success at our 15th annual Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 awards in London last night
Sustainable success, corporate culture and attracting talent were all on the agenda as the founders and senior directors of the UK’s 250 leading private mid-market growth companies networked at our Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 awards dinner, co-hosted by our sponsors and by Fast Track’s founder and CEO, Hamish Stevenson.
All companies received an award certificate to recognise their success. The league table ranks private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales – the tier below our Top Track 100 companies with the biggest sales. In their latest year companies must also have either increased sales or operating profits by at least 5%, and have profit margins that exceed 2%.
The 250 companies generated combined annual sales of £63.3bn in their latest year, up 16% from £54.8bn in their prior year. They had combined profits of £5.9bn, and employed a total of 373,000 staff, an increase of 37,000.
Over 290 guests attended the dinner, including founders and senior directors from leading growth companies such as Dr Martens, Five Guys, Matchroom Sport, Princess Yachts, Sushi Daily and Travelodge.
Guests were welcomed by Dave Dunckley, chief executive of title sponsor Grant Thornton UK LLP, who said: “The impact of this room on UK plc is incredible. It makes profits of £5.9bn a year, up 20% year on year. We have every reason to be confident.”
Q&A with Chrissie Rucker OBE, founder of The White Company
Before dinner, guests heard from Chrissie Rucker OBE, founder of The White Company, the lifestyle retailer that featured on Top Track 250 for four consecutive years, and now has sales of over £205m. Launched in 1994, it has recently begun expanding overseas, opening stores in the US and Ireland. She was interviewed by Oliver Shah, business editor of The Sunday Times.
Chrissie spoke about the importance of reviving the British high street, early challenges, and her vision of building a company that stood apart from competitors.
Speech by Steve Hewitt, chief executive of Gymshark
After dinner, guests heard from Steve Hewitt, chief executive of Gymshark, the fitness clothing brand he joined in 2014. He has overseen a period of rapid growth, fuelled by innovative social media marketing, with sales rising 73% to £180m in 2019, earning Gymshark a place on Top Track 250 for the first time this year.
Steve underscored the driving question that has taken Gymshark from a strong idea without a corporate plan, into an international success story drawing crowds in New York and with a new Asia headquarters in Hong Kong. “Do we want to be the biggest fitness brand in the Midlands, or do we want to become this truly global brand and inspire?”
Top of the league
The number one company, health food and supplements retailer Holland & Barrett, stocks 9,000 products at 1,300 stores from Sweden to Hong Kong and grew sales 6% to £697.3m in 2018, with profits of £110.7m.
Founded in 1870 as a single grocery store in Bishop’s Stortford, surging demand for health food and dietary supplements has made it a household name with a global footprint. It has outlined a 10-year strategy that will see the business become bigger outside Britain than inside it, and triple sales to £2bn.
Oliver Shah presented the number one company award to Tony Buffin, chief executive, and Steve Carson, group managing director.
More information on the league table
The 2020 Sunday Times Top Track 250 will be published next year on 4 October, with an awards dinner the following November.
For company nominations please enter your details here.
For opportunities to meet and build relationships with the founders and directors of these mid-market growth companies, see sponsorship opportunities for Top Track 250.