By Claire West

Britain’s one hundred privately-owned companies with the fastest-growing sales were revealed yesterday in the 16th annual Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100.

The 100 companies increased sales by an average of 89% a year over the last three years to a total of £2.7bn. They more than quadrupled their workforce to 14,000 over the same period. The league table features a host of well-known brands including Ella’s Kitchen, GO Outdoors, Hunter Boot, Jamie’s Italian and Wiggle, as well as many emerging companies in a range of industries.

Home shopping jewellery retailer The Genuine Gemstone Company takes the top spot on the league table. Based in Redditch, Worcestershire, it was set up in 2008 by serial entrepreneur Steve Bennett. Bennett’s first high-profile venture, Software Warehouse, was on the Fast Track 100 for three consecutive years between 1997 and 1999, before he sold it for £37m in 2000. Partly as a result of acquisition, Genuine Gemstone’s sales soared 245% a year, from £1.3m in 2009 to £54.5m in 2012.

RSM Tenon Chief Executive Chris Merry said: “Despite tough economic conditions in the last few years, the Fast Track 100 companies have performed especially well, growing and creating jobs. This is a positive sign of market activity as the UK continues on its journey of economic recovery.”

Hamish Stevenson, founder of Fast Track, said: “This year’s Sunday Times Fast Track 100 shows that Britain’s entrepreneurs can find exceptional rates of growth even during tough times and it is great to see RSM Tenon supporting them.”