MCA editor James Wallin gives a sneak peek at this year’s entrants for the AlixPartners Growth Company Index and looks back at previous winners

Tomorrow night sees the leading lights of the sector gather at London’s Guildhall for MCA’s Retailers’ Retailer of the Year awards.

The evening will celebrate the companies and individuals rated by their peers as the best in class over the past 12 months (for a reminder of the runners and riders, click here).

We will also be highlighting the fastest growing companies in the sector as the top 10 for the AlixPartners Growth Company Index is revealed.

Here, MCA editor James Wallin gives a sneak peek at this year’s entrants and looks back at previous winners:

In a challenging market it is enough for many operators to keep their heads above water but the AlixPartners Growth Company Index is a reminder that many of the sector’s stars continue to show hugely impressive profit growth. The list sees MCA once again team up with AlixPartners to profile the 50 companies with the fastest growing profits.

The index examines compound annual growth (CAGR) over a two-year period and is open to operators showing a turnover in excess of £3m and profits over £1m in their latest year.

Last year’s winner – and a company with an already heaving trophy cabinet – was The New World Trading Company. The then-21-strong group generated a CAGR of 66.7% during the period under review.

NWTC generated its £4.1m of profit off a turnover £40.1m in the year to March 2017. The company reached the top spot ahead of two new entries to the list. Second-placed MW Eat, the Masala Zone operator, reported a CAGR of 63.2% with a profit of £3m off a turnover of £25.9m, while Rosa’s Thai generated a CAGR of 59.8% and a healthy £1.4m profit off an £8.2m turnover. The 2017 winner Turtle Bay was in fourth place.

The rest of the top ten consisted of Giggling Squid, Hawthorn Leisure, All Star Leisure, Loungers, Banana Tree and Three Cheers Pub Company.

The latter was one of the biggest climbers on this year’s list – up 13 places on its position last year. The most improved company in the top 50 was Amber Taverns, which leapt 25 places to number 14. The biggest faller was Boston Tea Party – down 41 places.

There were 13 new entries to the list, exactly the same as the previous year. There were nine re-entries.

And, so to this year’s top 10. Without ruining the surprise for tomorrow night, I can confirm that this year’s top-rated company is a new entry to the index, after some high-profile new openings. It is one of three new entries to the top 10 – two restaurant groups and one pub company. There are four familiar names retaining their spot in the top 10 with one of those sticking firmly to last year’s high ranking position. Another prominent wet-led operator has climbed 13 places to enter the top spots. The line-up is completed by two companies re-entering the list straight into the top 10.

Appetite suitably whetted? There is just over 24 hours to see the top 10 in full. The full list plus profiles and analysis will be included in the April edition of MCA’s print journal and will follow online.