Their story began in the early 1900s when 18-year-old Lithuanian émigré Montague Burton arrived in Britain. He borrowed £100 to set up his eponymous menswear business in Chesterfield and within six years he established a chain of Burton stores selling ready-to-wear and bespoke suits. The thriving business relocated to Leeds in 1910 – they still have a head office there.


Treating employees fairly was a priority as Montague grew his business. His welfare office provided meals, a dentist and an eye specialist to treat eyestrain brought on by close needlework. In 1931 he received a knighthood for services to industrial relations.


By the end of the Second World War Burton was clothing around a fifth of British men. The move to womenswear came in 1946, with the acquisition of the Peter Robinson chain. When Sir Montague Burton died in 1952 the company he had started with a borrowed £100 was the largest multiple tailor in the world.


The company continued to grow. The mid-1960s saw the unveiling of Topshop – a ‘young fashion department’ within Peter Robinson. Topman launched in 1970 and names like Evans and Dorothy Perkins were acquired, with the first stand-alone Topshop opening its doors. The Burton Group demerged in 1997, giving rise to Arcadia, which then acquired Wallis, Miss Selfridge and Outfit.


In 2002 Arcadia Group became part of Taveta Investments, owned by Sir Philip Green and his family. Since then they’ve expanded their digital business rapidly and seen huge international growth, opening branches in New York, Chicago, Las Vegas and Los Angeles as well as a large number of franchises.