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AYBL, Lucy & Yak and ME+EM among Britain’s fastest-growing businesses

Jeremy Lim
01 July 2022

AYBL, Lucy & Yak and ME+EM are among the fashion brands listed as Britain’s fastest-growing businesses, according to The Sunday Times 100 list for 2022.

The list analysed companies with more than £5 million in sales in its latest year of trading that had at least £240,000 worth of sales four years ago, before calculating its compound annual rate of growth over three years.

The companies, which had to have at least ten employees in 2022, could not be part of a corporate group but could be owned by private equity.

Women’s sportswear brand AYBL ranked first as the fastest-growing private business in Britain with sales of £23.5 million in its most recent financial year, representing growth of 359% a year over three years.

Launched in 2018 by brothers Reiss and Kris Edgerton, the Redditch-based business has close links with Gymshark, another Midlands-based sportswear company. Gymshark Founders Ben Francis and Lewis Morgan were school friends with Reiss, and Morgan invested in AYBL last year, before becoming its Executive Chairman.

Ranking six in the list is Lounge Underwear, which posted annual sales growth of 214.98% over three years. Founded in 2015 by husband and wife team Daniel and Melanie Marsden, the underwear retailer had sales of £62.5 million in the year to March 2022. Lounge Underwear, which recently opened a 55,000 sq ft head office in Solihull, reportedly plans to increase the team by 25% over the next 12 months.

Ethical fashion retailer Lucy & Yak came in at number 21 in the list, having posted annual sales growth of 118.89% over three years. Launched in 2017 by Lucy Greenwood and Chris Renwick, Lucy & Yak is known for its quirky vintage-inspired dungaree designs and transparent supply chain. The company plans to open four more physical stores in 2022, in cities including Bristol and Norwich.

Launched in 2013 by Reece Wabara whilst he was still a professional footballer, Manière De Voir took the 50th spot with annual sales growth of 66.60% over three years. The Manchester-based fashion brand sells a range of loungewear, dresses, bodysuits as well as jewellery, and posted sales of £30.2 million last year. Wabara is also close friend of Gymshark Co-Founder Morgan, who holds a 17% stake in the company.

Luxury fashion brand ME+EM posted annual sales growth of 61.02% over three years, ranking 57 in the list. Founded in 2009 by Clare Hornby, the brand now counts the Duchess of Cambridge and Claudia Winkleman among its fans and had annual sales of £46 million in the year to January. It raised £55 million in March from investors to accelerate its expansion into the US and more international markets.

Woolovers ranked 74 in the list, posting sales growth of 53.43% over three years. Founded in 1989, the direct-to-consumer retailer started off by selling cable-knit sweaters at country shows, with its range of clothing and homewares now available in the UK and internationally. The company, which was sold to private equity investor Verdane last year for an undisclosed sum, posted £56 million in sales in the year to March.

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