Number of depots: 1 Turnover: £116m Sector: Alcohol, soft drinks, confectionery Type of operation: cash & carry, delivered Alcohol and soft drinks wholesaler HT & Co (Drinks) has done it again. For a second year the Acton-based cash and carry has been named by The Sunday Times as one of Britain's 100 fastest-growing companies. The business, which sells £116m of alcoholic and soft drinks, cigarettes and confectionery a year, is 69th on this year's list of growing companies, with profits rising 58% year-on-year, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers. It shares the accolade with well-known premium brands such as Aston Martin, EAT, Caffè Nero, Fat Face and Sunseeker. And the company, which operates from a depot in a north London industrial estate, is showing no signs of taking its foot off the accelerator. Its 50,000 sq ft depot in Park Royal recently underwent a £2m overhaul and there are plans to extend the building by a further 15,000 sq ft to meet growing demand. "We need more space to stock more lines because demand for our products continues to grow," says trading director Sanjay Thakrar. "Our customers were looking for a better service from us. We wanted to make our depot a friendlier and easier place to shop in so we introduced more lighting, made the aisles wider, and increased the car parking space." HT & Co, formerly Hothi Cash & Carry, distributes to about 50,000 newsagents, off-licences, pubs, restaurants and clubs within the UK via a network of more than 30 distribution partners. The company rebranded itself last summer to reflect what Thakrar says have been significant changes in the business since his family acquired the business from the Hothi family in 1998. Recent changes have been aimed at ensuring the business continues to thrive despite the challenging trading environment the company finds itself in. Tobacco sales have been hit by recent smoking legislation and many of HT & Co's customers are also suffering at the hands of the multiples' deals on alcohol, says Thakrar. The answer, he says, has been to form closer alliances with suppliers and retailers to offer a more competitive service to its customers. "The multiples are causing problems for a lot of our customers with their discounts and special offers so we work hard with our key suppliers to help our customers fight back." This, he says, involves timing promotions so they contrast with what the multiples are doing. "If the supermarkets are promoting Pepsi from January to March we will do it from April to June so our customers can stay competitive. A good relationship with our suppliers is vital." The company has also introduced more advertising in its depot and has been working with key brand owners, including Heineken, InBev UK, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands and Constellation, to get their products into more stores. It runs 'trade days' each month that are supported by different suppliers. "The trade days prove very popular because they bring our customers and suppliers together," says Thakrar. Bestselling lines are Stella Artois and Foster's but the company also specialises in less mainstream imported beers and spirits, which it says are not readily available at the multiples or other cash & carries. However, the company is also growing its bottled water and confectionery sales. In March it introduced a dedicated confectionery aisle and Thakrar says chocolate and snack products will become a bigger part of the business. Other plans include building up the business' delivery operation. HT & Co currently operates a fleet of seven vans and trucks but Thakrar intends to grow that to 10 by the end of the year. "Some of our competitors deliver and some don't. We feel that building this side of the business will give us an edge on them," he says. And he isn't ruling out opening a second depot. "We are doing well with one depot but we want the company to continue to grow, which may eventually mean we have to look at opening another one." If it does, next year HT & Co could find itself growing faster still.