BOLTON’S online home appliance giant has been named Employer of the Year at the retail industry “Oscars”.

The firm — which has its headquarters in Horwich — landed the gong at the Oracle Retail Week Awards which are regarded as the most prestigious awards event in the retail calendar.

The glitzy bash was held at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel and saw beat off stiff competition from the other nominees including Lidl, Shop Direct and Pets at Home.

The judging panel — including Asda president Andy Clarke and John King, the chief executive of House of Fraser — said they awarded the top prize to the Bolton business based on its “dedication for caring for its staff.”

Speaking about the award, John Roberts, founder and chief executive of said: "We are delighted that ao’s unique and vibrant culture has been acknowledged at this year’s Retail Week Awards — At ao we are all about bringing customers a better way of buying electricals."

He added: “People make the difference in any business and so we take the responsibility of the environment we create for our people, to thrive and be the best they can be for customers, very seriously.

“We are therefore very proud to have been recognised on this stage for creating that environment and it is clear to see that our team are thriving and creating a better way for customers to shop and they’re having some fun while they do it.”

This is not the first time that AO has been acknowledged for its emphasis on staff development.

The company, which is currently on the hunt for 70 people to fill roles across its Ecommerce, IT, Logistics and call centre divisions, has also been ranked at number four for two years running in the Sunday Times’ 100 Best Companies to Work For.

Chris Brook-Carter, editor-in-chief of Retail Week, said: “ is testament to the sheer standards of excellence demonstrated by British retailers’ performance over the past 12 months.

“They and the other winners are the reason why British retail is such an asset to the UK economy.”