2015: No.15 - £320m
For 30 years, Kevin Threlfall built up his retail empire after starting out with a cigarette kiosk on Wolverhampton Market in the 70s. Then Tesco came along with an offer he couldn’t refuse.
When the supermarket giant began looking at convenience stores, Kevin Threlfall was in at the ground floor. He sold his chain of 1,200 stores –which included the Preedy, Dillons, Supercigs and One Stop chains in his T & S Stores group – to Tesco for £530 million.
But 65-year-old Threlfall’s enjoyment of the proceeds of that sale was almost cut short last year when he collapsed and “died” for almost an hour after suffering a cardiac arrest on the sixth tee of South Staffordshire Golf Club in Tettenhall.
Miraculously, two of his fellow golfers were first-aid trained and began CPR immediately, while the clubhouse was equipped with a defibrillator. He was rushed to New Cross Hospital where he made a remarkable recovery.
But his brush with mortality convinced him to bring forward the writing of his life story and the autobiography – “One Stop, One Life” is now on the bookshelves.
His business success began in 1975 with a cigarette kiosk on Wolverhampton Market. He began the Lo-Cost chain of convenience stores which sold to Oriel Foods.
He founded T&S stores with friend and colleague David Lockett-Smith and in 1984 the company was listed. Five years later, it acquired Dillons and Preedy from Next. It continued to grow through acquisitions and attracted the attention of Tesco.
He is a passionate Wolves supporter, rarely missing a game, and was a director at Wolves from 2006 to 2008. He was also president of Fordhouses Cricket Club where his father was once captain. He is a director and part-owner of ABC Leisure, which is one of the largest narrow-boat holiday companies in Britain.
He is married to Gill, has two children and lives in Perton