Bensadoun’s first name has become synonymous around the world with affordable kicks, with some 200 million consumers visiting Aldo-owned stores every year. Through the Aldo Group, Bensadoun is the owner of the shoe shops Aldo, Call It Spring and Globo. (The Canadian subsidiary of U.S. footwear company Genesco acquired another former Aldo Group brand—the 37-store chain Little Burgundy—in late 2015.) The empire began with the first shoe store Bensadoun opened in Montreal in the ’70s; today, these brand names have expanded into the U.S., the Middle East, Europe and Asia. Earlier this year, the firm laid out an ambitious plan to double its yearly sales to $4 billion within five years.
Unsurprisingly, international consumers will play a big part in that growth. Bensadoun says he intends to double the number of stores he has in the Middle East. And last November, he told the Delhi-headquartered newspaper Mint that India “has a lot of potential” for the Aldo Group and that he expects growth to continue at “a phenomenal pace” on the subcontinent.
Still, he remains deeply invested in the business at home—not just his own, but retail in general. In May Bensadoun announced a $25 million donation to his alma mater McGill to create an interdisciplinary school focused on the retail industry.
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017