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The founders and senior directors of Britain’s 250 leading private mid-market growth companies were recognised last night at the 15th annual Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 awards ceremony, held at the Royal Lancaster in London.

The Top Track 250 league table ranks the UK’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales – the next tier down from our Top Track 100 ranking of the biggest private companies. In their latest year companies must also have either increased sales or operating profit by at least 5%, and have profit margins that exceed 2%.

The 290 guests at the dinner, including founders and senior directors from leading companies such as Dr Martens, Five Guys, Matchroom Sport, Princess Yachts, Sushi Daily and Travelodge were welcomed by Dave Dunckley, chief executive of title sponsor Grant Thornton UK LLP, who said:

“It is an absolute pleasure to be here, for our tenth year in association with Top Track 250. 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 and the mid-market is driving that.”

Guest speeches

Scott Barton, managing director, large corporates, at main sponsor Lloyds Banking Group told guests: “Hearty congratulations to every company in the room. Your fantastic achievements and outstanding success stories show real quality and resilience.”

Chrissie Rucker OBE, founder of lifestyle retailer The White Company, which sells bed linen, fashion and accessories, and has featured on the league table four times, was interviewed by Oliver Shah, business editor of The Sunday Times. She discussed the importance of sustainable success as the £205m retailer expands in the US: “We haven't been a hare, we've been a tortoise, but have really preserved the brand,” she said.

After dinner, Jennie Gubbins, senior partner of awards dinner sponsor Trowers & Hamlins, praised all the companies present and introduced Steve Hewitt, chief executive of fitness clothing retailer Gymshark. He has overseen a period of rapid growth, fuelled by innovative social media marketing, with sales rising 73% to £180m in 2019. Hewitt said: “Our purpose is our staff believing in what this brand stands for, and our purpose as a brand is to build a community.”

The No 1 private mid-market growth company award

Oliver Shah presented the number one company award to Tony Buffin, chief executive, and Steve Carson, group managing director, of Holland & Barrett. The health food and supplements retailer 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. Buffin said: “It was very humbling to be recognised,” adding “thank you very much on behalf of all the 7,000 people that work with us.”

Past award winners include McLaren Automotive, Watches of Switzerland, and Virgin Active. Other alumni stars range from Ocado, which floated in 2010 and is now worth £8.3bn, to Dyson, which had sales of £4.4bn in 2018.

Profiles and financial information for each of the winning companies are available on the Fast Track website:

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