Aldo Group to invest $363 million to improve digital platform for online sales

MONTREAL - The Aldo Group plans to invest $363 million with the help of the Quebec government to create at least 400 jobs within five years by modernizing its headquarters and improving its online sales efforts.

The province is contributing $52 million, including a $40-million loan, a $10-million grant and $2-million training subsidy.

While most of Aldo's sales come from its retail stores, company founder Aldo Bensadoun said Friday that a growing number of consumers are buying online.

"Now it's online and tomorrow it will be with their smartphones and (smart) watches," he said.

Aldo employs 1,200 people at its head office in the St-Laurent borough of Montreal.

The privately owned company operates more than 2,300 stores under four banners, employing nearly 20,000 people in 87 countries.

The investment was consolation for the borough, which will lose more than 770 jobs with Sears Canada's decision to close a logistics centre.

Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, who attended the Aldo announcement with her finance minister, defended the provincial support, saying helping companies like Aldo can sustain jobs.

"Aldo has a vision for the future," she told reporters. "The company offers innovative projects that ensure that it can remain in the forefront with respect to all new technologies as they emerge."

Aldo's shoes are mostly manufactured in China.

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