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The much-hyped release of Mitt Romney’s testimony in the divorce of the former Staples CEO this afternoon has failed to deliver the October Surprise knock-out blow to Romney’s campaign, as promised by celebrity attorney Gloria Allred.

Mitt Romney said during the 1991 hearings that in Staples’ early days, its initial stores performed “far behind our expectations”. He said friends told him that Staples was “a hard place to shop” and employees were “surly”.

However, during his presidential campaign, Mitt Romney has described Staples as a “great American success story” and has taken credit for its growth to a mega-firm employing nearly 90,000 workers.

Tom Stemberg was one of the speakers who praised Mitt Romney last August at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida.

The transcripts of his evidence run to more than 300 pages of complicated financial questioning and will surely be scrutinized in the next few days. Yet there is apparently nothing to damn the Republican rival, or instantly back up the claims of Gloria Allred or the ex-wife of Staples founder, Tom Stemberg, that Mitt Romney gave misleading evidence to ensure she could not win a better settlement.

Under a plan approved by Mitt Romney and other board members in 1988, Maureen Sullivan Stemberg was given 500,000 shares of Staples common stock, then awarded a special “D” class of stock in exchange for those shares. Maureen Sullivan Stemberg sold about half of the shares only to learn that those sold holdings would have been valued higher in a 1989 public offering of Staples stock.

In testimony Mitt Romney said he backed the deal to give Tom Stemberg’s wife a special class of stock “as a favor to Tom. It was something that was done in my opinion, it was initiated as a favor. Tom needed to have a settlement with his wife so that was the genesis of it”.

But Mitt Romney insisted the board’s decision was made “in the best interests of the company’s shareholders”.

Gloria Allred's October Surprise fails to deliver killer blow to Mitt Romney

Gloria Allred’s October Surprise fails to deliver killer blow to Mitt Romney

Mitt Romney acknowledged at the time that there were no other cases in which a separate class of securities was created for the benefit of one individual. He also said that as an investor through Bain, he had never seen that kind of a device used before.

At first, his venture capital firm Bain, an early investor in Staples, was so underwhelmed by the firm’s performance that it did not plough as much money into the firm as it could have.

Mitt Romney said the initial investment in Staples was $1.5 million and valued the shares at $1.50 to $2 right up until early 1988. The court noted Maureen Sullivan Stemberg negotiated a sale of her shares at $2.25 to $2.48.

“In my opinion that’s a good price to sell the securities at,” Mitt Romney said, according to the transcript.

And, at the end of his three days of testimony, Mitt Romney was asked about his own chance to buy Staples stock before the float – and whether he bought the entire amount he was allowed to.

Crucially Mitt Romney said he did not as he believed there was a chance the company could fail.

A source told the Washington Examiner: “This disproves the Allred allegation completely. He put his money where his mouth was.”

The documents do, however, reveal the close relationship of Tom Stemberg and Mitt Romney, who testifies that he had lunch with the Staples CEO on the day of the hearing.

Mitt Romney added that he doubted the future success of the office supply stores and only created one class of shares as a “favor” to Tom Stemberg because he “needed a settlement with his wife”.

The testimony was unsealed in a Canton, Massachusetts court on Thursday after attorneys – including for Tom Stemberg and Mitt Romney – did not object to their release.


Skinny jeans, leggings and blazers have replaced denim jackets, polo necks and thick black tights as wardrobe staples over the last 25 years, a study has revealed.

From leather leggings to denim hot pants, trends come and go as fashion evolves every season.

But it seems that some trends are here to stay.

Nude tights, ballet pumps, a maxi dress and a black or nude clutch bag are also among the modern must-haves every women should own.

But while they might have been staple items in the 1980s, straight-leg jeans and simply knee length skirts are no longer considered as classic clothes.

It wasn’t all change though, as black trousers, cardigans, a simple white blouse or shirt and the little black dress have remained constant must-haves through the decades.

Skinny jeans have replaced thick black tights as wardrobe staples over the last 25 years

Skinny jeans have replaced thick black tights as wardrobe staples over the last 25 years

Black or brown boots, black court shoes, a pencil skirt and a smart black coat have also stood the test of time and are still considered staple items.

A spokesman for F&F at Tesco in UK, which commissioned the research said: “Everyone has a section of their wardrobe which is reserved for staple items.

“And while many have remained the same, there are some that have changed as the trends and fashion has evolved over the past twenty years or so.

“Good-quality staple items can really help to save costs when it comes to a new season or trend.

“If you’ve got a few trusty items of clothing that you can rely on, all you need is one or two pieces from a new trend and you have an up-to-date and fashionable outfit for a fraction of the cost.

“So it’s worth making sure the staple items you do buy are good quality so you can be sure they will stand the test of time for years to come.”

The study found that 81% make sure their wardrobe is always full of staple or classic items, with another 83% believing there are items that every woman should own.

And the average woman estimates that almost half of their closet is taken up with classic clothes which they can wear year after year – compared to just a quarter which is reserved for trend items each season.

Almost three quarters of the women polled also said they are happy to splash more money than usual on staple items knowing they will get plenty of wear from it.

A third of women even own items of clothing that has been such a wardrobe staple, it has been passed on to them from older friends and relatives.

More than one in ten even have some timeless clothes which they have been wearing for 20 years or more now.

Researchers also found that 57% of people say the majority of the staple items in their wardrobe is black, followed by beige, brown, white and grey.

According to the study, in an average month, women spend £22.01 ($34.55) adding to their staple items, with quality and the look or appearance the most important factors when shopping for wardrobe essentials.

But the study found that it’s not all about staple items with 46% of women saying they like to go shopping and stock up on some fashion items to complement their basics.

Seventy-seven per cent even admitted they have kept certain items of clothing in the hope they will someday become trendy and fashionable again.

A spokesman for F&F at Tesco, added: “The secret to a good wardrobe is mixing your staple items with a few key fashion pieces each season.

“Buying good quality staple items alongside some more trendy, one-off clothes means you get to keep up with the latest fashion, without breaking the bank.”



Leggings and skinny jeans

Nude tights


A maxi dress

Ballet pumps



Straight leg jeans

Black, woollen tights

Denim jacket

Simple knee length skirt

Black polo neck top



Black cardigan

Black trousers

Black or brown boots

White blouse

Flip-flops/flat sandals

White vest top

White/black short sleeved t-shirt/top

Black court shoes

Bootcut jeans

White/black long sleeved top

Little black dress

Pencil skirt

Smart black coat



Stationery supplier Staples has created an application that aims to put your reading speed to the test.

Staples has developed a timed test which gives you a page to read, followed by a few questions.

The aim is to see how fast you can read – and how you compare to the national average.

Once you have found your grade, the program will tell you how well you compare to others, from high school students to college professors, or to the speed reading record – a staggering 4,700 words a minute.

Staples has developed a timed test which gives you a page to read, followed by a few questions

Staples has developed a timed test which gives you a page to read, followed by a few questions

The average speed for adults is 300 words a minute, which means an average reader could rattle through War and Peace – which has about 560,000 words in its English translation – in about 11,866 minutes.

How we read has changed over the years, with experts in particular noting how the internet is changing how we read materials.

Skimming – where your eye glances over blocks of writing for keywords – has become a lot more ingrained among heavy internet users, who are used to jumping around between different pages as they search for certain words.

Skimming normally provides a reading rate of 700 words per minute, and leads to lower comprehension rates – but it has the advantage of allowing you to go through huge amounts of text to find the information you are after.

The Staples test stops you doing this though – a quick multiple choice questionnaire directly after the speed reading makes sure you have taken in the information.

Although, as the test is purely for fun, there is nothing to stop you having a second go a few moments later.