Top 100 Companies: Wilko of Worksop is biggest employer

Emma Harrison, former boss at A4e.
Emma Harrison, former boss at A4e.

Big hitter Wilko Retail is a newcomer to the Top 100 companies list this year with £1.5billion turnover, 21,684 employees and a pre-tax profit of £28m.

It, and second placed Eco-Bat Technologies and a handful of others, make the list after a review of postcodes that comprise Sheffield City Region.

Check out the top 100 companies by turnover in South Yorkshire - click to view or right click and save as to download

Wilko, based in Worksop, is a company which shows how fringe areas are home to huge firms.

Lisa Wilkinson, grand-daughter of the founder ‘JK’, is the current director representing the family, which is famously private. A spokesman said in the last year the name had changed from Wilkinsons to Wilko, they had invested in online for delivery, click and collect and a mobile app and launched a search for new stores particularly in areas where it is under-represented, such as the South.

GI Recruitment, based in Chesterfield, has 11,841 employees, according to its latest accounts, while Sheffield City Region’s biggest company, SIG, has 9,806.

Langley Holdings is the fifth biggest employer in the region, with 4,042 on the books.

The Retford company has the honour of being the most profitable company - by far.

It made £76m pre-tax profit last year, not quite three times that of Wilko.

The privately-owned engineering group has operating divisions in Germany and France and more than 70 subsidiaries worldwide. It had a turnover of £693m, made £76m profit in 2013 and employs 4,042.

A4E is the region’s eighth biggest employer, with 3,349 on the books. The firm is 17th on the Top 100 turnover table.

Last month the firm was sold in a deal worth £34.5m to West Yorkshire-based training provider Staffline Group.

Founder Emma Harrison is set to pocket £20 million from the sale of the help-to-work company she set up 24 years ago.

Go Outdoors was 10th, with 1,786 employees. The firm fell slightly from 19th to 22nd in the table for turnover, which stands at £172m.