Skip to main content

Successful cost-cutting plan leads to AO hiking earnings outlook for third time


AO’s cost-cutting plan has led to the company raising its annual earnings forecast for the third time in less than three months.

The Bolton-based online electricals giant said its “resilient” customer base has helped profitability improve more than expected as it continues to reduce costs.

AO said price increases across mobiles have also been slightly higher than forecast.

Read More: Amazon shuts online store in cost-cutting move

It anticipates underlying earnings of £37.5 million to £45 million for the full year, up from the £30 million to £40 million forecasted last month.

The company raised its earnings forecast in November and again in January, indicating that its cost-cutting strategy is working.

In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, AO said: “The steps we have taken to simplify the business and become more efficient have outperformed expectations and been delivered quicker than expected.”

Read More: PayPal is cutting 2,000 employees in a cost-cutting drive

“Margin improvement initiatives coupled with a continued resilient underlying customer base has driven higher retail gross margins than previously expected and we anticipate that this will continue for the remaining five weeks of the financial year.”

AO World posted a £12 million loss in the first half of the year, with shares plummeting last year following a string of profit warnings as the cost crisis impacted consumer spending on white goods, as well as labour shortages and supply chain disruption.

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

Last summer, the company began its turnaround plan with a £40 million fundraising round in order to strengthen its balance sheet amid fears of a cash crunch.

Source Business Live

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook

The longest sentences handed out for fraudsters in the US

Messing with the law in America can lead to terrible results.

Some states still have the death penalty for the most severe crimes, and some incredibly long sentences have been handed out.

The Oklahoma City bomber Terry Nichols holds the record for the longest sentence after being convicted of 161 counts of first-degree murder, first-degree arson, and conspiracy by the state court of Oklahoma.

READ MORE: The $3 million fraud involving Barack Obama and George W. Bush’s spiritual adviser

His 161 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole are seen as one of the longest sentences ever handed out in the world.

The official Guinness World Record is that of Dudley Wayne Kyzer, jailed for 10,000 years for killing his wife in 1981.

He also received further sentences for killing his mother-in-law and a college student.

Very serious crimes also occur in business, with massive frauds causing the collapse of giant corporations and enriching the people involved at their expense.

Such frauds often lead to long sentences, with many of the protagonists dying in prison.

Here are five of the longest sentences for large-scale fraud in the U.S. 

Sholam Weiss – 845 years

Fraudster Sholam Weiss
Fraudster Sholam Weiss

Sholam Weiss was a businessman who hatched a complex fraud in the 1990s. 

He worked for the National Heritage Life Insurance company and devised a scheme with several employees.

They conspired to fake the accounts, so it looked like the company was making money when in fact, it was not.

They created fake reinsurance contracts and then used them to hide the company’s losses.

They also made loans to fake companies and used them to make it look like the company was doing well.

The scheme eventually fell apart, forcing National Heritage Life Insurance into bankruptcy.

After going on the run to Austria, he was caught and extradited to the United States to face charges.

In 2000, he was sentenced to 845 years in prison, which is one of the longest sentences ever handed down in a white-collar crime case in the United States.

The sentence was reduced to 835 years after an appeal.

The exact amount he stole is unknown, but he was ordered to pay restitution of $125 million.

He launched several appeals against the case, arguing the sentence was excessive and violated his constitutional rights.

However, his appeals all failed.

He was released from prison in 2021 after President Trump commuted his sentence on his last day as President.

Bernie Madoff – 150 years

Bernie Madoff police mugshot
Bernie Madoff

Bernie Madoff’s name has become synonymous with large-scale financial fraud.

In 2008, his vast Ponzi scheme was uncovered after he spent two decades defrauding thousands of investors out of billions of dollars.

READ MORE: Jerome Kerviel: The French fraudster who lost his bank $5 billion

Madoff’s scam unraveled during the 2008 financial crisis when investors began to demand their money back, and he could not keep up with the payouts.

It is thought Madoff defrauded his clients of over $64 billion, making it the largest Ponzi scheme in history.

READ MORE: Meet the fraudster who received an 845-year sentence

Madoff was eventually arrested and charged with securities fraud, investment adviser fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, perjury, and making false statements.

In 2009, he pleaded guilty to 11 counts and was sentenced to 150 years.

He died in prison aged 82 in 2021.

Allen Stanford – 110 years

Fraudster Allen Stanford
Fraudster Allen Stanford

The billionaire Allen Stanford was jailed in 2012 after stealing $7 billion from investors in a 20-year Ponzi scheme.

His scam was finally uncovered in 2009 after he sold fake high-yielding certificates of deposit through his Antigua-based Stanford International Bank.

He used investor deposits to fund his lavish lifestyle, including private jets and pumping money into his cricket team.


Federal agents raided his offices in February 2009, leading him to be charged with a “massive ongoing fraud.”

Federal agents raided the offices of Stanford Financial in February 2009.

He was charged with “massive ongoing fraud” around his investment scheme.

The scam was described as a “massive Ponzi scheme,” which included misappropriating billions of dollars from investors and faking the bank’s records in an attempt to hide the scam.

Stanford denied any responsibility and said his companies were well-run.

He denied charges of fraud, conspiracy, and obstruction.


The trial lasted between January and March 2012, with the jury convicting Stanford as the mastermind behind a vast Ponzi scheme after three hours of deliberation.

Prosecutors pushed for the maximum sentence allowed under U.S. law – a staggering 230 years.

They called him a “ruthless predator” who “lived a life steeped in deceit.”

Stanford was also ordered to forfeit $5.9 billion. U.S. District Judge David Hittner said the crime was “one of the most egregious frauds ever presented to a trial jury in federal court.”

During sentencing, Stanford protested his innocence, blaming “Gestapo tactics” from the government.

The proceedings continued after he was jailed as another judge, David Godbey, sided with the SEC in a civil suit against Stanford.

He was ordered to give back $6.7 billion and pay a $5.9 billion fine.

Stanford appealed his conviction, which was rejected in 2015.

A second appeal was rejected in 2021.

He still denies the charges to this day.

Scott Rothstein – 50 years

Fraudster Scott Rothstein
Fraudster Scott Rothstein

The Ponzi Scheme is a popular method for financial fraudsters to enrich themselves.

Scott Rothstein is another criminal jailed for a very long time after he defrauded investors of the law firm Rothstein Rosenfeldt Adler.

The firm’s offices in Fort Lauderdale were raided by the FBI in 2009.

It transpired Rothstein had asked colleagues which countries refused to extradite criminals to the U.S., with Morocco one of the countries that met the criteria.

He later wired $16 million to a person in the city of Casablanca.

He even went as far as sending a fake suicide note to his colleagues.

Rothstein returned to Fort Lauderdale a few days later.

He was arrested in December 2009 and charged with five counts of racketeering, fraud, and money laundering. 

The former lawyer pleaded guilty in January 2010 and was sentenced to a 50-year prison term later that year.

Tom Petters – 50 years

Fraudster Tom Petters
Fraudster Tom Petters

Another Ponzi scheme, another 50 years in jail.

Tom Petters was the chairman of Petters Group Worldwide, a company in Minnesota that found itself at the center of an FBI investigation of a fraud involving more than $100 million in investments.

In September 2008, FBI and IRS agents raided the company’s headquarters.

They were looking for evidence of a scheme luring investors into funding a company based on tens of millions of dollars in purchases and sales that never happened.

A witness provided documents and information before wearing a hidden microphone.

They recorded several conversations involving Petters and other staff who carried out the fraud.

Petters admitted to carrying out the fraud and falsifying his tax returns.

He was arrested in October 2008 and was denied bail as it was revealed he’d urged someone else involved with the case to leave the country and previously spoken about doing the same himself if he ever got caught.

He was charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and obstruction of justice.

The scam saw several of the companies which invested go bust.

Petters was found guilty of 20 counts of conspiracy, wire, and mail fraud and jailed for 50 years.

He is another who maintains his innocence, according to an interview with Twin Cities Business magazine in 2012.

His earliest potential release is in April 2052, when he will be 94 years old.

Follow us on YouTube, Twitter,LinkedIn, and Facebook

Hiring and firing: Meta, Dell, and Disney axed thousands of jobs in February


The brutal layoff season is still continuing, with the US tech sector being the worst affected and the likes of Meta and Disney among the companies cutting staff. 

Companies are bearing the brunt of rising inflation, a turbulent stock market, and an over hiring during the pandemic. 

The year 2023 started with a spate of job losses where employees were laid off in their tens of thousands

Several major players in sectors from tech to finance, including PayPal, Dell, Disney, JPMorgan, and Twilio, have announced significant staff downsizing in February. 

Read More: Telecom giant Ericsson to cut up to 8,500 jobs globally

The month ends with tech giants like Meta confirming plans for more layoffs. 

On the bright side, a few companies, including Ford, have revealed job creation, which brings hope to job seekers.

Here’s who’s hiring and firing in February 2023.


Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career


Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Hundreds of Amazon staff want to return to the office


Hundreds of Amazon employees are now supporting the company’s new return-to-office policy, which was announced over a week ago.

Staff members have created a new Slack channel to compete with a larger group of staff who flocked to a different Slack channel that’s challenging CEO Andy Jassy’s plans.

The new channel’s description states that it seeks to “Think Big” about the benefits of the return to office (RTO) plan, which is in “danger” of getting revoked by the “remote advocacy” group. 

Read More: Amazon employees hit back at sudden return-to-work policy

However, it seems staff are divided as many are still fighting the decision.

On Monday, February 27, the RTO supportive channel had just over 750 people compared to the opposing channel’s 28,000-plus.

The description says, “Sensing the danger of #remote-advocacy resulting in an overturning of the RTO plan, we seek to Think Big in this channel to elaborate on the hidden benefits of RTO.”

The new RTO policy, which requires Amazon corporate employees to work three days a week from the office from May, is expected to be a controversial topic for months.   

Thousands of Amazonians joined the “remote advocacy” Slack channel shortly after Mr. Jassy disclosed the move on February 17.

They were also organizing a new petition to turn it down formally.

Read More: Amazon asks staff to work in the office at least three days a week

One of the first posts in the RTO-support channel was a link to a 2021 Harvard Business Review article outlining why workers may choose to return to work.

Several employees were thrilled about coming to the workplace.

A message read Amazon would “see a net increase in productivity” from the RTO policy. 

This person also advocated for a four-day workweek to make up for the “more rigorous” work hours.

Another employee observed Amazon’s considerable stock price growth in the three years preceding the pandemic when there was no remote work.

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

The staff member contrasts it with the six percent increase three years after the pandemic when most people worked from home.

Yet, based on the number of participants in each Slack channel, remote work appears to have stronger support among Amazon staffers.

The group fighting returning to the office, which has over 28,000 people, snowballed within hours of Jassy’s statement with outrage at the new policy’s abruptness and vagueness.

Many workers encouraged others to join an internal petition urging Amazon’s leadership to quickly repeal the RTO policy and adopt a new mandate allowing permanent remote work.

Source: Insider

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Amentum Services to move base to Virginia to generate 157 new jobs


Amentum Services has revealed plans to move its headquarters from Maryland to Virginia, which will create 157 jobs.

The aerospace defense contractor has invested $495,000 in the project.

The relocation to Fairfax County comes just over a year after it completed a $1.9 billion acquisition of military and government services contractor PAE.

Read More: $16 million Kaseya expansion in Miami will create 3,400 new jobs

Governor Glenn Youngkin said: “Fairfax County offers the location, access to decision-makers, and talent pipeline that global providers like Amentum are seeking.

“We are proud to welcome the company’s leadership and operations team to Virginia.

“Amentum joins the ranks of the commonwealth’s diversified ecosystem of more than 800 corporate headquarters across a broad cross-section of industries.”

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

The new headquarters consolidates operations at Amentum’s Chantilly office.

Amentum employs around 44,000 people in 85 countries.

It has offices in Alexandria, Arlington County, Chantilly, Dahlgren, Falls Church, Fredericksburg, and Norfolk, Virginia.

To obtain the project for Virginia, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership collaborated with the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority.

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

General Motors to cut around 500 staff to save $2 billion

General Motors

General Motors will cut around 500 executive-level and salaried employees to save expenses and increase its profits.

The layoffs affect staff in various departments in the motoring giant.

The cuts come around a month after GM CEO Mary Barra and CFO Paul Jacobson told investors that no job cuts were planned.

Read More: Palantir announces 75 job cuts as tech sector continues to shed workers

In a letter sent to staff, CPO Arden Hoffman highlighted the company’s goal of $2 billion in cost savings over the next two years. 

He said this would be achieved by “reducing corporate expenses, overhead, and complexity in all our products.”

The terminations would hit a “small number of global executives and classified employees following our most recent performance calibration.” 

The reductions began on Tuesday, February 28.

Read More: Telehealth startup Cerebral to slash 285 employees in third round of layoffs

GM says the layoffs were due to poor performance.

It added that the move assists in “managing the attrition curve as part of our overall structural costs reduction effort.”

The automotive giant employed around 86,000 hourly workers and 81,000 paid employees globally at the end of last year, which means the 500 cuts represent less than 1 percent of GM’s salaried workforce.

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

Last month, Jacobson informed investors that the firm planned to cut staff numbers through attrition rather than layoffs.

Until recently, the automotive sector was mostly unscathed by recent redundancies in the tech industry.

Earlier this month, Ford Motor announced 3,800 job losses in Europe over the next three years to implement a “leaner” structure as it concentrates on electric vehicle manufacturing. 

Others, such as Rivian Automotive, announced pay cuts, while Stellantis confirmed the closure of an Illinois plant.

Source: CNBC

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook.

Getir rumoured to be cutting more than 200 jobs


Rapid grocery delivery firm Getir is set to lay off around 200 to 300 workers after merging with rival Gorillas.

It is claimed that the company has also paused its relocation to its new office as it can’t accommodate staff until the job losses are completed.

The relocation, which was supposed to happen in February, has been held up until early March, after the job cuts have begun.

Read More: Sainsbury’s Argos depot closures puts 1,400 jobs at risk

A source said: “They have been spending as fast as they take orders from customers. They are in dire trouble.”

The job losses come as meal delivery startups change their focus from topline sales growth to profitability.

The rapid food delivery market has boomed during the pandemic and become highly competitive, with players like Getir, Gorillas, GoPuff, and Zapp operating on razor-thin margins.

Read More: Frasers Group cuts 90 jobs at former JD Sports brands

Though the layoffs have not yet begun, the employee claimed Getir’s top management has applied to the Government Redundancy Payments Service.

Getir is said to have filed the Government claim in January.

The employee said the firm is “looking for people to voluntarily leave the business.”

Getir announced a return-to-work mandate, requiring employees to come in five days a week, which was met with large walkouts by employees.

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

The firm provided employees with a flexible work application, which the employee alleges was a “complete whitewash,” with over 95 percent of applications rejected.

It has allegedly resulted in “furious angry rows” at the company’s headquarters.

The layoffs are likely to be announced shortly and might take place in the next few days.

Getir declined to respond to requests for comments.

Source: Charged Retail

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook

40,000 Marks & Spencer staff set for pay rise

Marks & Spencer

Marks & Spencer will increase the pay of 40,000 workers to help with the rising cost of living.

Customer service representatives pay will rise by seven percent to £10.90 per hour in April.

Staff in London will see their pay rise to £12.05.

The retail giant said it has already pumped £57 million in increasing store pay, saying it is the “biggest ever investment” to date.

Read More: Marks & Spencer to open 20 new stores which will create 3,400 jobs

The change means a full-time M&S customer assistant will earn nearly £150 a month more compared to the same time last year. 

Marks & Spencer’s hourly rate of pay for employees has increased by more than 20 percent since the beginning of 2021.

Chief executive Stuart Machin said: “Whether you’re running a home or a business, everyone is trying to balance the reality of rising costs.

“Of course, we all hope inflation subsides, and there are some positive signs that it is doing so, but we need to help colleagues in the here and now.

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

“That’s why we are investing so significantly in our hourly rates of pay and why we are supporting colleagues with a continued commitment to our wide-ranging package of industry-leading benefits”.

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook

Sainsbury’s Argos depot closures puts 1,400 jobs at risk


Sainsbury’s has put 1,400 jobs on the line with the closures of two Argos depots over the next three year.

The supermarket giant has confirmed warehouses in Basildon, Essex, and and Heywood in Greater Manchester, will both close by 2026.

The cuts will affect both Sainsbury’s employees and those who work for Wincanton as part of an outsourced contract.

Read More: Sainsbury’s launches four-day working week trial

Sainsbury’s also announced the closure of its Milton Keynes office in response to flexible working across the group but stressed that no jobs would be lost as a result of the decision.

It also announced that its three remaining Habitat showrooms will close later this year as part of its plan to consolidate operations.

Simon Roberts, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, said: “As with any major change to our business, we have not taken the difficult decision to start this consultation lightly.

Read More: Lloyds Pharmacy to close all Sainsbury’s outlets putting 2,000 jobs at risk

“As part of our plan to create a simpler business, we previously set out our intention to integrate our Argos and Sainsbury’s logistics networks.

“Over the last few years, we’ve been working hard to transform this network as we make our business simpler, more efficient and more effective for customers.

“This also allows us to reduce costs, so we can invest where it will make the most impact for our customers.”

Read More: Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, M&S and Co-op join forces to combat climate change

Roberts said: “We understand that this will be an unsettling time for affected colleagues, and we will support them however we can throughout this process.”

There are currently five existing Sainsbury’s and Argos depots, which will be consolidated into three.

A depot in Daventry will be further automated in a £90 million investment.

No jobs are affected at that centre at this time.

It stated that employees affected by the depot closure decision will be able to “explore alternative roles” within the organisation.

Read More: Sainsbury’s profits fall as it tries to keep prices low

According to the trade union Unite, there is no “economic justification” for the closures.

Unite national officer Matt Draper said: “Management at Argos/Sainsbury’s has yet to provide any form of the business case for the loss of these jobs.

“Unite will be fighting to preserve every job and will put forward an alternative business case to the company to preserve employment at these two sites.

Read More: Sainsbury’s gives hourly workers pay rise and free meals to help deal with cost of living crisis

“This is an incredibly wealthy company that should be investing in its loyal workforce rather than dumping workers in pursuit of short-term profits.

“If Sainsbury’s doesn’t drop its closure plans then Unite will pursue all avenues to preserve employment at these sites.”

Sainsbury’s stressed the changes, along with the ongoing expansion of its local warehouse network across the UK, would improve availability, reduce stock, and allow for faster customer deliveries.

Read More: Sainsbury’s begins rollout of restaurant hub concept with London launch

A statement said: “The new three-site general merchandise network will improve productivity and the working environment, as well as increase resilience and flexibility for the future,” it said.

The retailer stated that the closure of its Milton Keynes office was due to an increase in remote working across the company, with only 11 percent of available desk space being used on a regular basis by staff on the site.

It intends to give employees in Milton Keynes the option of switching to a different office, in addition to remote working.

Need Career Advice? Get employment skills advice at all levels of your career

The job cuts are part of a larger purge in the supermarket sector, with Tesco and Asda both recently announcing plans to cut positions as they slash costs in the face of stiff competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl, as well as rising inflation and consumer spending cuts.

According to a recent study by the Centre for Retail Research, UK retailers have cut nearly 15,000 jobs since the beginning of 2023.

Source:  Business Live

Follow us on YouTubeTwitterLinkedIn, and Facebook

Skip to content