Gymshark founder and chief executive Ben Francis has been awarded an MBE for services to business in the 2023 new year honours list.

Ben Francis

Ben Francis, Gymshark

In a LinkedIn post, Francis – who began making fitness clothing in his parents’ garage in 2012 after his grandmother taught him how to sew – said: “This is probably the most surreal feeling I’ve had when being given an award. I’m so grateful to all those around me who support me in all that I do at Gymshark.”

The fitness clothing giant launched its first flagship store – an 18,000 sq ft, two-storey retail space featuring a dedicated ‘sweat room’, ‘pro bench’ rooms, free exercise classes, as well juice and coffee concession – on Regent Street in October.

Boden founder John Peter Boden was also recognised for his services to fashion and to the retail sector with a CBE.

The British catalogue and online retailer began life in 1991, launching with eight menswear products, before expanding into womenswear in 1992, childrenswear in 1996 and launching its UK website in April 1999.

In the grocery sector, Afshin Amirahmadi, managing director of Arla Foods UK, was awarded an OBE for services to the dairy industry.

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