The Range is on the rise but yacht firm slips back
CHRIS Dawson's The Range retail empire has rocketed further up the list of the country's leading mid-market private companies after a £50million surge in sales – but Princess Yachts has fallen.
The Range, which is headquartered in Estover, has been ranked at number 113 in The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250.
The household goods chain jumps from last year's placing at number 138. It leaves the company 80 places above Stonehouse-headquartered Princess Yachts, which drops 14 places this year from 179 to 193.
The Range overtook the boat-maker on the list for the first time last year. In 2010, the Range, at number 139, was two places lower than Princess Yachts. But, according to Sunday's listing, The Range has this year made a profit of £26.3million, on sales of £296.7million. The profits have grown from £20.6million in 2011 and 2010, and £10.9million in 2009.
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And, despite the recession, sales have increased too – from £249.4million, last year, £211.7million in 2010 and £174.7million in 2009.
The Range is 100 per cent owned by Mr Dawson, Britain's 230th richest person with a £380million fortune, and his family, and now employs 4,160 people nationally, including about 200 in his Estover nerve centre.
Princess Yachts, which is mostly owned by French private equity house L Capital, employs 2,115 people spread across sites in Stonehouse, Lee Mill, Langage, South Yard and Coypool.
The company's 2011 turnover rose £1.5million to £207.9million, reported in The Herald in July, but there was a fall in pre-tax profits to £15.1million.
The Sunday Times, however, lists the "operating" profit as £21.7million.
The company had sales of £213.8million in 2010, up from £206.6million.
Its profit of £20.1million, for the year to December 2009, was down from £24 million the year before.
Just last week, Princess Yachts' managing director Chris Gates, re-assured staff that job cuts are not on the horizon despite the luxury boat market facing choppy waters. He told The Herald he was determined to retain the firm's Plymouth workforce to prevent key skills being lost despite the recession-hit world economy, particularly in Europe, shrinking the yacht market. Princess Yachts plans to fight back by winning orders ahead of rivals. The Range's current figures are projected for the year ending January 2012, because the firm has yet to file at Companies House.