Kolkata: Footwear manufacturer Bata India Ltd plans to enter the defence and paramilitary segments, for which it has put in place a dedicated team to secure contracts.
“It is the clear intention of the company to enter the defence, paramilitary and police segments where the volume is large. But it will take some time,” Bata India non-executive chairman P.M. Sinha told reporters after the company’s annual general meeting on Tuesday.
The company is also planning to open 65 to 70 stores across the country and re-model 30, he said.
At present, shoes for defence personnel were mainly procured from the unorganized sector.
Sinha said that Bata was also looking at the rural market which was expected to grow in a big way.
He said in the organized shoe industry, Bata was enjoying a leadership position with a market share of 33%.
Recently, the company had forayed into the segment of manufacturing accessories for ladies like handbags.
While 80% of the company’s products were sold through the retail route, 20% were through wholesale.
On other initiatives, Sinha said the company was also manufacturing safety shoes for the construction and manufacturing sectors.
Bata has recently installed state-of-the-art machines for manufacturing such shoes at the Batanagar plant near Kolkata.
Sinha said with real estate prices going down, the company was re-negotiating rents of the existing stores. He said rental payments for Bata was expected to come down by 10% to 15%.
Asked about exports, Sinha said the company was eyeing overseas markets in a big way.
He, however, said the company would make sure that the products were competitive in view of the competition from Chinese manufacturers.
Asked about the impact of slowdown on retail footwear industry, he said the company’s growth was above the industry average.
Bata India has 1,250 outlets spread across the country.