Virgin Atlantic has topped other travel companies in the latest list of UK private firms with the largest sales.

Despite losses of £35 million in the year to February, the carrier and its sister tour operation Virgin Holidays achieved a 5% sales rise to £2.9 billion, enabling it to maintain its 12th position in the Sunday Times Top Track 100 list.

The listing of Britain’s largest private companies by sales sees Saga Holidays and AA parent Acromas – which is likely to be split up in a refinancing – in 20th position with sales up by 15% to £2.1 billion in 2012.

The world’s second largest attractions firm Merlin Entertainments saw sales top £1 billion for the first time as it explores plans for a public float.

The company moved up to 48th in the rankings from 56th place a year earlier with estimated profits of £346 million.

Butlins, Haven and Warner parent company Bourne Leisure saw sales reach £839 million last year with a profit of £190 million due to more people taking domestic holidays, but still dropped down the list from 67th to 71st place.

Cosmos and Monarch Airlines’ holding company Monarch Holdings saw sales rise by 9% to £825 million in 2012, placing it in 73rd position.

The chemist chain Boots topped the rankings with sales of more than £22 billion followed by chemicals maker Ineos at £18 billion and John Lewis at £8.5 billion.

“With signs of gradual economic recovery at home and lucrative opportunities in growth markets overseas, it will be a busy year for all the companies in this year’s Top Track 100, the report said.