At a time when traders are forced to reduce their opening hours due to lack of staff, the big boss of the Aldo Group is open to a reduction in opening hours. The decision rests with the owners of shopping centers, answers David Bensadoun.

“It would help a lot for the price pressure because there are a lot of hours when we have very little traffic,” replied the president and CEO of the shoe retailer, in an interview on Wednesday on the sidelines. of a conference at C2 Montreal.

It is not necessary to open the doors of shopping centers during the less busy hours, believes Mr. Bensadoun. “I don’t think consumers need 90 hours a week to shop. […] I think the magic number is probably 75 hours. »

This decision is up to the owners of shopping centers, where 90% of the company’s stores, which include the Aldo, Spring and Globo brands, are located.

A change of schedule must however be done in a fair and orderly manner, pleads the leader of the Montreal company. “You have to get everyone to agree because you can’t have a situation where the mall is open, but half the doors are closed. It wouldn’t make sense. Our goal is to make life easier for consumers. »

For its part, the Aldo Group claims to have no difficulty recruiting employees. “In 2021 and until the middle of 2022, it was very difficult to find the workforce, but now it is going quite well. »

The pandemic was a particularly difficult time for the Montreal-based company, which had sought court protection from its creditors in May 2020. The Montreal-based company already had challenges before the pandemic, including difficulties with a technology investment. The forced closure of shops and the disinterest of consumers in fashion items at a time when they were confined to their homes dealt the death blow.

The company had to move from its former state-of-the-art headquarters. It was forced to close hundreds of stores as well as reduce the number of employees working at the head office from 1,150 people to 850.

During the conference which focused on the concept of benevolence in management, the businessman, who is also the son of the founder Aldo Bensadoun, said that the restructuring was a particularly difficult period to live through as a leader. .

He says he “hit a wall” when he had to announce the layoffs needed to turn the business around. “It was the worst day of my career. »

” I’m very good. We are growing internationally. We have agreements with ten new franchisees. In wholesale, we signed two major contracts with Ted Baker and Brooks Brothers. We work closely with Macy’s, Nordstorm and Amazon to sell our Aldo brand. »

Sales at company stores account for nearly half of the company’s revenue. The idea is to keep in-store sales stable, but increase revenue from franchisees, online sales and wholesale so that corporate stores represent a smaller proportion of the business .

“We want to keep the turnover of the store part stable, so we don’t plan to close stores, but we don’t plan to open a hundred, maybe we’ll open about fifty. »

The situation has also greatly improved on the supply chain side. ” It’s incredible ! It’s even cheaper than in 2019 [the price of containers]. »

The price of a 20ft container transiting from Asia to the US West Coast shows a significant correction. “Before the pandemic, it was between $1500 and $1800. During the pandemic, it went up to $11,000. Now it’s between $1300 and $1500. »