Family firm makes top list

All images copyright nicholas yarsley (wizzwam ltd). SUS-141014-150857001
All images copyright nicholas yarsley (wizzwam ltd). SUS-141014-150857001

For the fifth time in ten years, an Eastbourne book wholesaler has made it into the league table of the top private companies in the UK.

Gardners Books is the largest book wholesaler in the UK and a major employer in the 

It came 118th in The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 league table, published last weekend.

The table ranks Britain’s mid-market growth private companies with the biggest sales.

Group technical director at the firm, Andrew Little, said, “We are delighted to be in it. It’s been running for ten years and we’ve been in it for five. We’re quite proud of that achievement. It is a family business. We have been in Eastbourne since 1994.”

The company is a book and entertainment wholesaler, selling books, CDs and DVDs to independent bookshops, supermarkets and online firms like Amazon.

Gardeners Books has found itself on the Sunday Times list several times, but this year saw its highest ranking yet, at 118th.

In 2005 it was 223rd in the rankings, in 2009 it was at 228, in 2010 it climbed the table to 152, and in 2013 it was in 146th place.

“We’ve got 800 staff in Eastbourne, and over 1,000 in total,” said Mr Little. “We’re the largest private employer in Eastbourne. It’s nice to show we have got a successful business in Eastbourne – it is good for the town.”

Norman Armstrong, partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, the title sponsor of the league table, praised the companies who made the list.

“These mid-sized businesses are such an integral part of the UK economy,” he said. “They continue to thrive and grow, often on an international stage and their achievements are rightly celebrated here in the Top Track 250. We listen carefully to them about the barriers, challenges and opportunities that they see and, through our ‘Agents of growth’ campaign, champion policy changes that will help. We think this dynamic segment of the market is starting to find a voice and is being heard.”

To see the full table, visit