A trusted name in every Indian household, Bata is often ‘perceived’ as an Indian brand although it has its roots in Europe. In this interview, Sandeep Kataria, CEO, Bata India, shares details about the company’s ambitious expansion plans
What are the key milestones for Bata India?
In 2018-19, Bata India opened over 70 new retail stores and 50 franchise ones, besides renovating 47 outlets. We now have close to 1,500 stores in India and have invested around Rs 260 crore over the last three years for modernising our manufacturing plants and renovating retail stores. We plan to open about 500 franchise stores which would come up in small towns over the next five years.
Considering the market conditions, do you think it’s the right time to invest in a shoe franchise?
Franchising in India is at a nascent stage and hence presents a strong growth opportunity. This business model has an edge over other business models as the franchisee is working with an established brand and hence the operational process gets easier. Given a healthy, sustainable, consumer-centric business model, any time is the right
What are the strategies adopted by Bata to address competition by e-commerce marketplace? What unique strategies have helped the brand scale?
While offline retail forms a substantial share of our revenue, we will also aggressively pursue online purchase this year. To tap the vast online market opportunity, we will continue focusing on Bata.in, even as we continue our partnership with e-commerce leaders like Myntra, Amazon, and Flipkart.
What is your franchise strategy?
We have a winning proposition for the franchisees with a clear focus on ‘enhanced consumer shopping experience’ at our stores. Our robust and sustainable business model combined with continuous guidelines and checks from the organisation helps our franchise partners ensure sustainable returns. We have customised training programs for store managers and staff which are being provided through online modules as well through classroom and instore sessions. Our other key initiatives include seasonal and festive promotions, demand generation via 360 campaigns, and consumer feedback module.
What are your expansion plans?
Bata currently has over 150 franchise stores. We are looking at expansion in Tier II, III and IV cities in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana, Gujarat, Bihar and Tamil Nadu in the next two years. We aim to get about 500 franchise stores in the next five years.
What are your immediate targets and vision for the brand?
We are looking at adding around 100 stores every year for the next five years. We are sharpening our portfolio in terms of premium products, variety and regional nuances. We have established ourselves as a ‘fashion forward’ brand with new arrivals being launched every Friday. Bata India is the largest footwear retailer in India, offering footwear, accessories and bags across brands like Bata, Hush Puppies, Naturalizer, Power, Marie Claire, Weinbrenner, North Star, Scholl, Bata Comfit and Bubblegummers, to name a few. Bata launches hundreds of new styles every season through continuous innovation, keeping in mind the consumer’s changing needs.