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Bata is now eyeing the peak festival season sales wherein consumers typically splurge. (Ramesh Pathania/Mint)
Bata is now eyeing the peak festival season sales wherein consumers typically splurge. (Ramesh Pathania/Mint)

Bata to expand Bharat footprint

  • Bata is now eyeing the peak festival season sales after posting a loss of 101 crore in the June quarter

Bata Ltd, India’s top footwear retailer, is opening stores more through franchise partners in smaller cities and towns where demand has recovered faster than in the metros.

Since the lockdown, close to 30 new stores were added, and an additional 35-40 are in the pipeline, Sandeep Kataria, CEO, Bata India, said in an interview.

He said expansion of the business during the pandemic underscores the trend seen by many firms wherein demand in smaller cities continues to be ahead of the metros.

Bata has set out a plan to open 500 franchise stores in smaller cities by 2023 as it plans to deepen its pan-India retail network where it currently has 1,550 Bata-owned and franchised stores, apart from selling on e-commerce and working with thousands of multi-brand footwear dealer stores. So far, it has opened 190 such franchise stores in the smaller cities.

“One of our biggest joys in this period has been the number of inquiries we’ve had for franchise stores. We’ve been on a drive in the recent past. We’ve been looking at opening franchise stores in towns in the population strata of 100,000 to 300,000. We’ve already opened 30-odd stores, and are looking at opening another 35-40 stores before the end of the year," Kataria said.

Kataria said the high rate of queries is reflective of the comparatively stronger demand in smaller towns and cities, which have fewer mobility curbs compared to metros.

“We are seeing demand being stronger in smaller towns.This is for two reasons—one is that infections are lower and the opportunity to work from home is lower, so people had to step out earlier. And the second is that a lot of consumption in small towns is still happening when they came to big towns, to big cities on shopping trips, etc., which has been limited, and therefore demand in the smaller towns has been higher," he said.

For the June quarter, Bata India posted a loss of `101 crore as the strict lockdown forced to shut its wide network of stores. Revenue from operations for the quarter fell 85% year-on-year to `134.8 crore.

Bata is now eyeing the peak festival season sales wherein consumers typically splurge. However, this year is set to be different for retailers as they deal with consumers who have turned cautious on spending.

Kataria said while more consumers have started to visit Bata stores, they are spending on a certain type of footwear like sandals, casual footwear and active footwear which continue to be in demand.

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