An established direct-to-consumer business in Cape Breton is getting a boost from the province to upgrade its call centre technology to increase workforce efficiency and expand business potential. Premier Rodney MacDonald announced today, Jan. 23, that the province will invest $1.2 million in Spiegel Brands Inc.’s New Waterford location. “We are pleased to invest in the innovation plans of the largest employer in the New Waterford community,” said Premier MacDonald. “It is a well-respected employer with strong ties to the community.” Spiegel Brands Inc. employs about 500 people at the centre and generates an annual payroll of $10 million. The company sells women’s clothing directly to consumers through Internet-based marketing and its traditional United States catalog sales. The company is installing a leading-edge data-entry system worth more than $6 million. It will make the order process more efficient and allow the company to take advantage of future growth opportunities. “Upgrading our call centre technology will increase our productivity and efficiency,” said Lisa Lavin, senior director of call centres for Spiegel Brands Inc. “We look forward to many more years of successful growth in Nova Scotia.” New York-based Spiegel Brands Inc. has been in business more than 100 years. It generates $300 million in annual sales through its catalogs, Internet sales, and one pilot retail store.