Austin Internet Marketing Group

Laura asks…

why isn’t anyone suing Obama for campaign fraud?

AustinBusinessConsulting answers:

While I doubt Obama is personally involved …..there are some serious problems with his campaign contributions

The Obama campaign has shattered all fund-raising records, raking in $458 million so far, with about half the bounty coming from donors who contribute $200 or less. Aides say that’s an illustration of a truly democratic campaign. To critics, though, it can be an invitation for fraud and illegal foreign cash because donors giving individual sums of $200 or less don’t have to be publicly reported. Consider the cases of Obama donors “Doodad Pro” of Nunda, N.Y., who gave $17,130, and “Good Will” of Austin, Texas, who gave more than $11,000—both in excess of the $2,300-per-person federal limit. In two recent letters to the Obama campaign, Federal Election Commission auditors flagged those (and other) donors and informed the campaign that the sums had to be returned. Neither name had ever been publicly reported because both individuals made online donations in $10 and $25 increments. “Good Will” listed his employer as “Loving” and his occupation as “You,” while supplying as his address 1015 Norwood Park Boulevard, which is shared by the Austin nonprofit Goodwill Industries. Suzanha Burmeister, marketing director for Goodwill, said the group had “no clue” who the donor was. She added, however, that the group had received five puzzling thank-you letters from the Obama campaign this year, prompting it to send the campaign an e-mail in September pointing out the apparent fraudulent use of its name.

“Doodad Pro” listed no occupation or employer; the contributor’s listed address is shared by Lloyd and Lynn’s Liquor Store in Nunda. “I have never heard of such an individual,” says Diane Beardsley, who works at the store and is the mother of one of the owners. “Nobody at this store has that much money to contribute.” (She added that a Doodad’s Boutique, located next door, had closed a year ago, before the donations were made.)

Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said the campaign has no idea who the individuals are and has returned all the donations, using the credit-card numbers they gave to the campaign. (In a similar case earlier this year, the campaign returned $33,000 to two Palestinian brothers in the Gaza Strip who had bought T shirts in bulk from the campaign’s online store. They had listed their address as “Ga.,” which the campaign took to mean Georgia rather than Gaza.) “While no organization is completely protected from Internet fraud, we will continue to review our fund-raising procedures,” LaBolt said. Some critics say the campaign hasn’t done enough. This summer, watchdog groups asked both campaigns to share more information about its small donors. The McCain campaign agreed; the Obama campaign did not.

Linda asks…

what are the menswear retailers of Burton in UK?

the Burton Group (menswear) from 1969 to 1975.
auther: Gerry Johnson

AustinBusinessConsulting answers:

The Arcadia Group is a British company that owns several of the most well-known high street clothing retailers in the UK. These include Topshop, Topman, Miss Selfridge, Burton, Evans, Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Outfit. Together, the group is responsible for more than 2,500 outlets in the UK alone, making the group is the UK’s second largest clothing retailer – not forgetting numerous concessions in department stores such as Debenhams and Allders Croydon.

The Beginning

The origins of the Arcadia Group can be traced back to 1900 when Montague Burton, a Lithuanian immigrant borrowed £100 from a relative and set up his own menswear shop in Chesterfield. Within 10 years, the business had expanded to a chain of 14 shops in Sheffield and Leeds and had introduced the bespoke tailoring operation that was to make Montague Burton a household name in the 20s and 30s.

The outbreak of the First World War brought a temporary halt to the rapid expansion of shops. However, production capacity increased dramatically as Burton had won contracts to supply uniform clothing for nearly a quarter of the armed forces. The end of the War brought an enormous unprecedented demand for men’s clothing for which Burton was well placed.

Arcadia Group Plc is the new name for the former Burton Group Plc. The name change took place at the same time as the demerger of Debenhams in January 1998. At that time Debenhams became a separate company with its own listing on the Stock Exchange. The fashion ‘multiples’ – Burton Menswear, Dorothy Perkins, Evans, Hawkshead, Principles, Racing Green and TOPSHOP/TOPMAN – were renamed and reorganised into Arcadia Group. In June 1999, the Group consolidated its multi-channel approach with the launch of Zoom, an e-commerce and Internet Service Provider. The acquisition of the Sears womenswear business – the Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Warehouse and Outfit brands.

Post War Years

With the post-war years came rapid growth in mass markets – in housing, furniture, consumer goods, entertainment and clothing. It was the era of ribbon development, the Austin Seven, Lyons Corner Houses, Odeon Cinemas, and it was also the era of the Montague Burton suit.

In the mid-1940s demand for tailored menswear remained high and with 600 menswear shops there was hardly a high street in the country without a Burton. Burton was estimated to be clothing about one-fifth of the British male population at that time. When Sir Montague Burton died in 1952, his company was the largest multiples tailor in the world.

In 1946 the company made its first move into the womenswear market with the acquisition of the fashion group Peter Robinson.

Expansion continued through the 50s and early 60s and in the mid-60s Peter Robinson relaunched as “TOPSHOP” which to this day has maintained its reputation for putting new ideas on the high street first.

In the 70′s, and as a complement to the suit business which was in decline, the Group started to develop itself significantly in mainstream clothing retailing by beginning to target chains to precisely defined markets.

In 1971 the Group acquired Evans – the market leader in larger-size fashion for women. In 1979 the Dorothy Perkins chain was acquired, enabling the Group to consolidate its position in the womenswear markets. In 1984 the Group launched a new chain – Principles; for fashion conscious women with a higher disposable income. Principles for Men was launched a year later in 1985.

Also in 1985 the Group acquired Debenhams, the largest department store group in the UK founded in 1851, and Colliers. The acquisition of Debenhams added another 67 stores bringing a wide range of goods other than clothing to the Burton Group’s portfolio.

By 1991, however, the Group reported a substantial fall in profitability, due to a discount-led pricing strategy and the effect of major diversification into property development. New management was appointed which set about improving the Group’s financial position and long term performance.

In 1996, the Group made its first move into home shopping with the acquisition of Innovations along with the Hawkshead brand in July 1996 and Racing Green in October 1996. Innovations and some related brands were then sold to the home shopping group Great Universal Stores (GUS) in November 1997.

The Group’s Internet sites for each of the brands were launched in November 1996 while e-commerce sites were introduced in the autumn of 1997.

The decision to demerge Debenhams and separate it from the rest of the Group was announced in July 1997. The plan was approved by shareholders in January 1998 and the demerger took effect later that month.

In June 1998 the Group acquired Wade-Smith, the Liverpool-based retailer of designer childrenswear, men’s and womenswear.

In June 1999 Arcadia Group again proved itself to be among the most forward-looking of UK retailers with the launch of Zoom, an e-commerce and Internet Service Provider that forms a key part of the Group’s multi-channel approach to retailing. Shortly after Zoom’s launch, Associated Newspapers Ltd acquired a 50% stake in Zoom, allowing both partners to benefit from the increased joint marketing opportunities.

In July 1999 Arcadia Group increased its share of the UK womenswear market with the acquisition of the Sear womenswear businesses, comprising the Warehouse, Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Outfit brands from the defunct Sears Ltd.

In 2002, Arcadia Group plc was bought by Taveta Investments, controlled by billionaire Philip Green who also owns Bhs & Tammy (Tammy now appears in Bhs stores nationwide). Together Bhs and Arcadia form Britain’s second largest clothes retailer, after Marks and Spencer.

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