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ALDO Group
ALDO Groupe logo.png
Type Private
Genre Retailer
Founded Montreal, Quebec
Founder(s) Aldo Bensadoun
Headquarters Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Area served Worldwide
Key people Réjean Dionne, president; David Bensadoun, group VP, Aldo Global Retail; Norman Jaskolka, group VP, Aldo Group International
Products Shoes
Divisions ALDO/ALDO Accessories, Call It Spring/Spring, Lōcale/Feetfirst, Globo, Little Burgundy

The ALDO Group is a Canadian corporation that owns and operates a worldwide chain of shoe and accessory stores. The company was founded by Aldo Bensadoun in Montreal, Quebec, in 1972 where its corporate headquarters remain today. It has grown to become a worldwide corporation, with nearly 1600 stores under 5 retail banners: ALDO, Call It Spring/Spring, Lōcale/Feetfirst, Globo and Little Burgundy. There are also ALDO Accessories, ALDO Outlet, ALDO Liquidation, Spring Liquidation, and clearance stores. Stores in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland are owned by the Group while international stores are franchised. The company once operated the now closed or re-branded banners Simard & Voyer, Christian Shoes, Access, Pegabo, Transit, Stoneridge, and FIRST (which was the American version of Feetfirst).



[edit] History

ALDO shoes was founded in Canada in 1972 as a footwear concession within Le Chateau. The original group included stores in Montreal, Ottawa, Quebec City, and Winnipeg. The first freestanding ALDO store was opened in Montreal, in 1978. The brand expanded in the 1980s and 1990s, with stores operating under the name ALDO across Canada. The first international ALDO store opened in the United States in 1993 in Boston, Massachusetts. The first store outside of North America opened in Israel in 1995. The brand expanded in the 2000s into Saudi Arabia in 2001, England in 2002, and Singapore in 2003. Since then, the ALDO Group, with the ALDO and Call It Spring/Spring banners, has further expanded on the international market,[1] and by the end of 2011, the company will operate more than 600 franchises in 63 countries around the world.

In 1991, the company launched the “Transit” banner in Canada, which later became “Spring” upon launching in the U.S. Five years later, they started the “Feetfirst” banner which caters to an older clientele. Additionally the company operates “Globo Shoes” geared towards the family market.[2] In 2008, the company began to re-brand some of its “Stoneridge” stores as “Little Burgundy” stores. The new “Little Burgundy” stores carry brand name footwear and accessories from over seventy designers.[3]

In 2010 the company once again began to evolve when it introduced, in Canada, a new store concept called “Lōcale”, which will replace the current “Feetfirst” stores. “Lōcale” is a footwear and accessories boutique-style concept store aimed at young professionals; it offers a number of brand names.[4] The company has also revived the Pegabo brand which used to be its own chain of stores and is currently selling the brand in Feetfirst and Lōcale stores. In Spring 2011, the Pegabo brand also launched at The Bay stores in Canada.[5]

Also during 2010, the company made major announcements which have led to major expansion in the American market. The ALDO Group and JCPenney announced the launch of the Call It Spring brand which will sell as a shop-in-shop concept in JCPenney stores across the United States.[6] The Call It Spring concept is expected to be in 600 JCPenney stores by the fall of 2011 and JCPenney will be the only department store retailer of the brand.[7] The ALDO Group also announced that it is partnering with Kohls department stores to design and produce exclusive footwear products which will be sold under private and exclusive brand names. The new ALDO-designed products will launch in Kohls stores for the Spring 2011 season.[8][9]

ALDO aims to target customers on the street, because Aldo Bensadoun is “a strong believer that fashion starts on the street with political and economic events happening in the world.”[citation needed] Today, the ALDO Group sources about 60 per cent of its products in China. It also has shoes made in other Asian centres as well as in Brazil, Eastern Europe and Italy. Being able to switch quickly to a factory with the capability to produce is an advantage in an industry where success depends upon getting the latest fashions on the shelf within weeks.

[edit] ALDO Next Step

In 2008, the company launched its Next Step program aimed at going green and becoming more environmentally friendly. The first step of the program was to launch a new shoe box design that incorporated a handle into the box, eliminating the need for customers to use a bag to take their purchases home. The company also changed the bags that it does use to be made from wood-free paper.[citation needed]

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