Bata India is working on multiple initiatives, including driving portfolio evolution, accelerating expansion via franchise and distribution, investing in marketing and strengthening digital footprint, among others to “accelerate growth and expansion”.

The company is also “working aggressively” on increasing its presence in Tier III- Tier V cities through the opening of franchise stores and distribution network.

According to Gunjan Shah, MD & CEO, Bata India, casualisation and premiumisation are important drivers of growth that would lead to the future acceleration of business.

“The company is witnessing a distinct evolution in consumer mindset, including brand consciousness and accordingly, we maintained focus on refreshing the product portfolio with the strategy of casualisation and offered premium fashionable products. Casualisation and premiumisation are important drivers of growth that would lead to the future acceleration of business,” Shah said in the company’s latest annual report (2023).

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Bata India’s premium category brands, such as Red Label and Marie Claire, gained market share at the retail level, as fashion categories witnessed a revival in demand, with the boom for fitness and outdoor wear normalising that emerged during the pandemic.

The company is working on the brand appeal amongst millennials and Gen Z. It also continues to optimise its retail network and renovate stores to premiumise customer experience. The year 2022-23 saw the highest-ever expansion in franchise stores with total footprint crossing the 2,000+ milestone for the first time. Distribution channel was scaled up to over 1,150 towns.

With the advent of smartphones and ease of access to e-commerce websites, fast fashion has reached Tier II to Tier IV cities. The company expanded its digital footprint through its own website and major marketplaces. Its e-commerce network delivers to over 27,000 pin codes across the country. The company continues to offer home delivery through its omni-channel from all company-operated stores, thereby, increasing its pan-India footprint. During the year under review, home delivery services were extended to select franchise stores on pilot basis. Home deliveries contributed to about one million pairs during 2022-23.

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Footwear market still under penetrated

India is globally the second-largest footwear producer and consumer in the world. The Indian footwear market amounted to more than $23 billion in 2022 and economists expect the market to grow at a CAGR of about seven per cent between 2022 and 2027 with domestic footwear consumption, contributing about 90 per cent of indigenous manufacturing.

The Indian footwear market continues to remain underpenetrated as against the global average. Economists predict the per capita footwear consumption to increase to almost 2 – 2.1 pairs by 2025 from the current consumption of about 1.9 pairs. This would still be much below the global average of 3 pairs.

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The increasing population and rising disposable income of consumers are leading to higher purchases of footwear. Additionally, rising smartphone penetration, increasing digital payments, awareness about online shopping, better variety, and lucrative deals offered has led to an increase in online sales.

To meet the changing consumer preferences, the company remains focused on the key pillars of market penetration by a larger network of franchisees, MBOs and SIS outlets, presence through online platforms and product expansion through casualisation and sneakers that are in sync with the fast-paced fashion trends, appealing to a wide spectrum of style-conscious consumers, it said.