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Eyeing untapped markets, Bata entering smaller towns (Lead)

Kolkata, July 18 (IANS) Bata India is aggressively penetrating into footwear markets of tier-III and -IV cities to reach out to consumers in untapped markets, a company official said on Tuesday.

“We are aggressively penetrating into the footwear markets of tier-III and -IV towns and have increased our focus to improve the performance of the single-town Bata stores,” company Chairman Uday Khanna told shareholders at the 84th annual general meeting here.

He also said that the footwear retail industry in India was accelerating and it provided immense scope for the company to reach out to different kinds of consumers in untapped markets of semi-urban and rural areas.

Khanna said the footwear major had adopted a dual strategy of driving same-store growth while adding new retail stores in malls, high street locations.

According to the company’s latest annual report, it plans to add around 100 new retail stores and 50 new franchise stores during the current year to increase its presence in the malls, high street markets and in tier-II and -III cities across India.

“Today, we have close to 50 franchise stores and we have tested with 30 (franchise) stores last year, which are doing business of around Rs 7-10 million. In the next five years, we look at 300-400 stores,” company President Rajeev Gopalakrishnan said here.

The footwear major will look for premiumisation of products in metros.

“It is important for us to premiumise our products into the markets where it is needed. It has to be done in metros and mini metros,” he said.

Khanna said the changing customer expectations, technological advancement and rise in fashion-conscious youngsters have given a new business dimension to the footwear industry.

“A majority of our population is still living in rural areas and we wish to seize this opportunity by rapidly increasing our presence,” he said.

On the Faridabad manufacturing plant shutting down due to “unviable operations”, company’s Chief Financial Officer Ram Kumar Gupta said: “We are evaluating various options about what will be done with the property. It will take some time to finalise.”

— IANS
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Post Source: Ians feed

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