“Aldo’s footwear stores have enormous potential in Western Europe, China and India”
Aldo Bensadoun, Founder and Executive Board President of Aldo Group
Aldo Group’s global success is all about reconciling opposites. The Canada-based shoe retailer expands through franchised and fully-owned stores, offering fashionable shoes at mid-range prices. Sophie Baqué met Aldo Bensadoun, Founder of the eponymous footwear stores.
Sophie Baqué: How did you create Aldo Group?
Aldo Bensadoun: Shoes are part of my family’s history. My grandfather was a shoemaker in Algeria, and my father sold shoes in Morocco. I was born in Morocco, I grew up in France and I got my higher education in the USA and Canada. In 1972, we opened the first Aldo concessions in four Canadian department stores, and then the 1st Aldo boutique on St. Catherine in the city centre of Montreal. In 2014, our four shoe and accessory brands (Aldo, Call It Spring, Globo, and Little Burgundy) attracted 200 million customers to more than 1,900 stores in 93 countries. Our group has 20,000 employees, and 30% of the new recruits at Aldo’s headquarters are recommended to us by current employees.
SB: Could you please showcase a typical Aldo store for us?
Aldo Bensadoun: Aldo Group is a clothing and accessories specialty retailer. On average, a boutique covers about 160 sq.m. We also have a flagship format with three units at the Yorkdale Centre (Toronto), Festival City Centre (Dubai) and on Oxford Street (London). The flagship’s retail space covers between 560 sq.m and 740 sq.m.
SB: You are President of the Group’s Board. How is the company organised?
Aldo Bensadoun: In 2014, Patrik Frisk, former Director of VF Corporation, succeeded Réjean Dionne as CEO. Réjean Dionne had directed Aldo Group during 27 years. Aldo Group is made up of three separate entities. Aldo Global Retail (AGR) manages our 904 fully-owned stores in Canada, in the USA, in the UK and in Ireland, i.e. about 50% of the store network. One of my sons, David Bensadoun, is the Director of AGR. Aldo Group International (AGI) gathers our 1,028 franchised stores in 90 countries and is led by Norman Jaskolka, who joined Aldo in 1995. His role is to recruit the right partners and to make sure that they are able to give voice to the brand while respecting its DNA…