Bata India looking at opening 500 franchise stores

Kolkata, August 3 (IANS): Footwear major Bata India is planning to open about 500 franchise stores which would come up in small towns over the next five years, a top company official said here on Friday.


“We now have 150 franchise stores. We are looking to get about 500 franchise stores. These will be single-store towns. That means we are looking at 500 towns. We have charted out a five year plan for this,” company CEO Sandeep Kataria told media persons after its 86th annual general meeting here.


The footwear major was also adding around 100 stores every year, while closing 25-30 shops for various reasons like being in wrong locations or economically unviable.


"The net figure is around 70... There is a combination of renovating the shops, sometimes, increasing it, sometimes relocating it," said company Chairman Uday Khanna.


In 2018-19, Bata India opened 71 new retail stores and 51 franchise ones, besides renovating 47 outlets. It relocated 47 outlets and closed down 28.


The company now has close to 1,500 stores in India, and has over the past three years pumped around Rs 260 crore for modernising its manufacturing plants and renovating its retail stores.


"The company's thrust is to improve the customer experience, get more contemporary, and get more younger people to the stores.... The challenge is younger people are not coming to Bata in the manner we would have liked.


"Emphasis now on the marketing team is to retain your loyal customers and get new and young customers, we are also concentrating more on women's shoes," said the official.


The company invested around Rs 100 crore on its stores in the last three years.


Bata now has seven entirely women-run stores, and is planning to open one in South Kolkata, which will also be its first such outlet in eastern India.


"In our 500 top stores, 22 per cent of our team members are ladies. This figure is three times what we had three years ago," said Kataria.


As much as 85 per cent of the company's sales are through its stores, while about five per cent comes from e-commerce.


The company now sells over 47 million pairs of footwear in India, with its business now growing at a marginal rate of two-three per cent.


Kataria said 50 per cent of the total Rs 55,000-60,000 crore footwear market in India is unorganised.