James Kemsey Wilkinson
James Kemsey Wilkinson (December 1906 – December 1997) was an English businessman, the founder of the high street chain Wilko. In 2014, it was reported that Wilko had 372 stores, 23,000 employees and annual revenues of £1.5 billion.
James Kemsey Wilkinson was born in December 1906.
Together with his fiancée, Mary Cooper, he founded Wilkinson Cash Stores in Leicester in 1930, opening their first store there at 151 Charnwood Street. His brother Donald already had a hardware store in Birmingham, and two of his stores in Handsworth later joined the chain. In 1932, they opened their second store, in Wigston.
In 1937, his brother John joined as a director.
The company remains in the ownership of his family.
He married Mary Cooper on 22 October 1934 at St Peter's, Highfields, Leicester at 8am, and they were both back in the shop by 11am.
- Ruddick, Graham (2014-08-02). "Wilkinson family split after 84 years in retail". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2017-10-11.
- "James Kemsey WILKINSON - Personal Appointments (free information from Companies House)". beta.companieshouse.gov.uk. Retrieved 10 September 2016.
- Stephen Butt (30 October 2013). The History of Leicester in 100 People. Amberley Publishing Limited. pp. 118–. ISBN 978-1-4456-1698-8. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
- Ruddick, Graham (7 July 2015). "Wilkinson family net £63m by selling stake in retail empire". The Telegraph. Retrieved 5 March 2016.