Copyright : Yulia Grogoryeva

The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is joining the Quebec government and Investissement Québec in financing a distribution facility for retailer La Maison Simons.

The Caisse’s investment totals $27 million, with $17 million coming from Investissement Québec. In addition, the Quebec government is lending Simons $81 million, $51 million of which is for the purchase of automated equipment. The loan will help the clothing and housewares retailer with order preparation, processing and delivery, noted a press release. In addition to the distribution centre, the financing will enable Simons to overhaul its existing facility to better align with its e-commerce goals.

Read: Caisse leads $20 million financing for Montreal retailer

“Digital maturity is part of the criteria we focus on when we invest in a company,” said Christian Dubé, executive vice-president for Quebec at the Caisse, in the release. “Simons, which has transformed and innovated throughout the years, always implemented relevant measures to stay at the forefront of its sector, especially with regard to e-commerce.

“By embracing the digital shift at the right time, the company was able to tap into this important market, which now requires it to broaden its facilities. Through our investment, we aim to enable Simons to keep expanding and remain a vanguard of its industry.”

The new distribution facility will bring a higher level of automation and integrate robotic and computerized operations, according to Pierre Gabriel Côté, president and chief executive officer of Investissement Québec. “Consequently, Investissement Québec’s decision to join forces with La Maison Simons and its partners was a natural one in order to drive the success of a company that has been deeply rooted in Quebec’s landscape for years,” he said in the release.

Read: Canadian pension funds increasingly using co-investments to diversity real estate holdings

In other news, the Caisse is also part of a financing round for smart thermostat marker ecobee Inc. On Thursday, ecobee announced it had secured $47 million in funding from the Caisse, AGL Energy Ltd. and the Business Development Bank of Canada. The funding will allow ecobee to continue expanding its roster of smart home technologies.

“Through this investment, la Caisse is supporting an innovative company that uses artificial intelligence to improve energy efficiency. With its smart thermostats, ecobee plays a defining role in reducing energy expenses while optimizing comfort,” said Thomas Birch, vice-president of fund management and technologies at the Caisse.

“With the emergence of the rapidly growing smart home market, the company is well-positioned to pursue its international expansion plan.”

And in a third Caisse-related announcement, its real estate arm, Ivanhoé Cambridge, is collaborating with media and entertainment company Time Out Market to create a new space for dining and entertainment at one of its properties, the Centre Eaton de Montréal.

Read: To shop or drop: Retail investing in the wake of Sears’ demise

Spanning more than 3,300 square metres, the space will include 16 food offerings, two bars, a demonstration kitchen, a cooking academy, a retail shop and a cultural stage.

“We are absolutely thrilled to be collaborating with Time Out Market and to bring this incredibly successful format to Montreal,” said Claude Sirois, president of retail at Ivanhoé Cambridge, in a press release. “Our discerning clientele is always looking for fresh, new and innovative experiences that define the urban character of our properties nestled at the heart of downtown Montreal.

“Time Out Market Montréal will be the masterpiece of the Centre Eaton de Montréal’s transformation and will help redefine the urban leisure experience downtown.”

Copyright © 2020 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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