TOP 100: Wilko is best at employing staff

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Famously private.

That’s the family which owns retail giant Wilko.

Every year, The Star asks for an interview and every year the answer is the same: ‘No’.

But it’s worth trying - the company is a massive Sheffield City Region success story. It has annual sales of £1.44billion and 387 stores, 18 of which opened in the last year, and more to come.

It is our biggest employer by a long way with more than 21,000 employees.

A spokesman said: “Wilko remains a private, family-owned firm after more than 80 years of trading. JK Wilkinson opened the first Wilko store on Charnwood Street, Leicester, in 1930 and grand-daughter Lisa is now the family director.”

Its head office is at Manton Wood near Worksop which is also home to a service and distribution centre serving stores in the Midlands and North. Another distribution centre in South Wales serves the South and West.

Wilko has four million customers a week and sells more than 25,000 products.

Chesterfield firm GI Recruitment is the second biggest employer, with 14,857 on its books, while Sheffield building products behemoth SIG has 9,454 staff.

Another recruitment agency, Nicholas Associates in Rotherham, has 4,200 staff, according to its latest published accounts, while mechanical handling equipment specialist Langley Holdings, based in Retford, employs 4,163.

Sofa giant DFS, based in Doncaster, is the region’s sixth largest employer - with 3,700 employees. Keystone Jvco Ltd, formerly housebuilder Keepmoat, in Doncaster, employs 3,284.