Nine North East companies have been named among the largest private firms in the UK by sales.
The 15th annual Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league table is published this weekend, ranking Britain’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales.
The nine companies headquartered in the region – compared to seven that made the list last year – have made a strong contribution to the regional economy, increasing combined sales 26% to £2.9bn and operating profits 4% to £235m. Together, they also employ more than 36,000 people.
The mid-market growth company with the largest profits is Darlington-based HC-One, which is the UK’s biggest care home provider with more than 19,000 residents at 350 care homes throughout Britain. It nearly doubled profits to £54.1m in 2018, with sales rising 70% to £639.1m.
Justin Hutchens, chief executive of HC-One, said: “I am delighted by the news that HC-One has been ranked sixth in the annual Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250, a huge step up from our number 49 ranking last year.
“This achievement would not have been possible without the hard work of all my colleagues. Every single person in this organisation shows outstanding dedication day-in and day-out to achieving our aim of providing the kindest care to older people and I am hugely proud of them. We look forward to building upon this growth to ensure all the communities we serve across the North East and the rest of the UK benefit from the highest quality care services.”
Appearing on the league table for the first time at number 213 is Newcastle menswear retailer END. Founded in 2005 by university friends John Parker and Christiaan Ashworth, it ships 6,000 products a day worldwide and stocks more than 400 brands and designers, such as Comme des Garçons and Alexander McQueen.
The companies in the North East appear with businesses from around the UK, including Dr Martens, Fat Face, PureGym and David Lloyd Leisure.
The Top Track 250 is sponsored by Grant Thornton and Lloyds Banking Group, and compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events firm.
Stockton’s PX Group, which employs 427 people, rose up the table from 235th to 105th, having posted sales of £231m and profit of £7m.
Chief executive Geoff Holmes chief executive said: “I am delighted that px has made such a huge leap to 105th in the Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250. This is further evidence of our successful growth strategy and it is driven by the leadership, commitment and skill of our people across the business.”
Gosforth’s Parkdean Resorts featured at number 26, Sunderland’s Hays Travel was ranked at number 43, Kitwave Wholesale Group came in at 47th and Frank Recruitment rose from 154 on the table to 109.
Steve Richards, chief executive at Parkdean Resorts said: “The power of our people has undoubtedly driven our success, and we are fortunate that 97.3% of our people are positively engaged in their roles and really enjoy what they do. This helps us to really place customers at the heart of our business as we strive to deliver consistently excellent service.”
Retail and training director at Hays Travel, Jane Schumm, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that, yet again, Hays Travel has been included in the Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 list. Last year we celebrated our £1bn turnover and our expansion has continued into 2019 with new branches opening across the country.
“Whilst many high street businesses are on the decline, I believe we are still growing because of the personal service we offer our customers, and the fantastic staff we employ.”
David Brind, CFO at Kitwave, added: “Kitwave Group are really proud to be in the Fasttrack 250. As a fast growing North East based group we continue to offer great quality service to our customers and thanks to the hard work of all our employees we are in a positive position for further growth in the future.”
James Lloyd-Townshend, chairman and CEO at Frank Recruitment Group, said: “We’re delighted to be included in the Sunday Times’ Grant Thornton Top Track 250 for the third year in a row. It’s really a testament to the hard work of our 1,900 employees, who have all contributed to our success and continual growth.
“Our mission is to be the first-choice recruiter in our markets and deliver an unrivalled service to our customers. Since 2018, we’ve opened 10 offices across Europe and the United States, which is an astonishing rate of growth that only looks set to continue.
“There are many markets we’ve identified around the world that we think have a lot of potential, so 2020 looks like being another great year for us.
“We’ve certainly enjoyed a huge amount of success in North America, creating hundreds of jobs for locals as well as providing a chance for our staff in Newcastle to relocate to exciting cities such as New York, Philadelphia, and Dallas. I’m confident that our continuing expansion will provide further opportunities for our workers in Newcastle as well as around the world.”
Also featuring on the table from the North East was Middlesbrough’s Cleveland Cable Company, at number 62, and South Tyneside wax jacket favourite Barbour, at 129.
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