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Railway firm named as this year’s top performing business in York

Published: 05 April 2022

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A man and a woman in formal business wear holding a clear perspex award

Mark Plowright, Head of Sales and Commercial Development at LNER received his award from Professor Karen Bryan, Vice Chancellor of York St John

As a city with deep links to the railway industry, it’s fitting that the top performing business in York this year has been named as London North Eastern Railway Ltd (LNER). The rail operator posted an annual turnover of £839 million last year, a 23% increase year on year. The firm is responsible for intercity services on one of the longest routes in the UK, the East Coast Main Line, which connects Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland with London. Around a third of the UK’s population is estimated to live within 20 minutes of an East Coast Main Line station.      

Now into its fifth year, York Top 100 is an annual list of the City’s best performing businesses. The list is compiled after a painstaking process of research, data gathering and number crunching by academics at York Business School. Businesses are ranked according to a wide range of metrics, including number of employees, turnover, profit and shareholder funds.     

The list was revealed at an event on campus at York St John University this morning, attended by more than a hundred representatives from York's most significant employers. It’s the first time the event has been held in person since the pandemic.      

Historic house Castle Howard was named as the One to Watch, in recognition of the estate’s strong performance and 12% increase in turnover, boosted by live events and filming.     

Newcomer of the Year went to BSC Filters Limited, which entered the list for the first time, securing 26th place. The High Climber award went to Hartleys Food Holdings, a frozen and fresh vegetable supplier that has more than doubled its turnover in a year. Hartleys rose a whopping 50 places on the list to claim the 19th position.   

The top five was rounded out by Shepherd Building Group, family shoe firm Pavers, online music retailer Gear4Music and asset management company Providence Holdings Ltd.      

Professor Karen Bryan OBE, Vice Chancellor of York St John University presented the awards. She said: “It is no exaggeration to say that the past two years have been challenging for our city, economy and communities. We all know that the pandemic has had a profound impact on life. However, amidst the challenges we have also seen the incredible resilience and adaptability of our community. We have come together with a shared purpose to support one another and the city we call home.      

“At York St John University we remain committed to investing in the economic and cultural capital of York and the wider region. Working closely with local organisations we continue to develop and shape an industry-led portfolio of academic courses and support services.      

“Together, we are fostering a generation of learners who are intellectually generous, innovative and socially aware.”      

Mark Plowright, Head of Sales and Commercial Development at LNER accepted their award as they were named the number one business in York. He said: “We’re passionate about working with local businesses and the local community. York is a hugely important city for us, it’s the centre of our network and it’s a fantastic hub of local, national and international business. From personal experience I know that it’s a thriving place for business and for tourism. We’re delighted to call it home and we’re really grateful for this award.”  

The event also saw the launch of the Top 100 club, a new networking and support opportunity run by York Business School exclusively for businesses on the list.    

Dr Bob Gammie, Dean of York Business School said: “The York Top 100 provides a valuable insight into the economic infrastructure of the area. We also use the list to identify possible and potential partners of the future. My thanks to academic colleagues who’ve compiled the list and congratulations to all today’s winners.”     

Read more about the York Top 100 in The Press    

Find out more about studying at York Business School 

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