Footwear major Bata India is looking to ramp up its retail footprint primarily through the franchisee channel and roll out more products across categories as it expects to post a robust growth in sales over the 2019 (pre-pandemic) levels.

The company, which has bounced back to the pre pandemic level of sales, has clocked 11 per cent growth in sales during the current fiscal (YTD) upto May, said Vidhya Srinivasan, Chief Financial Officer, Bata India. Bata India registered nearly 35 per cent growth in revenues at ₹2,300 crore during the year ended March 31, 2022 backed by improved consumer sentiments.

“The growth (35 per cent) during FY22 is a function of Covid impact in the previous year (FY21) but we are back to the pre-pandemic level of sales and our goal is to do better than 2019,” Srinivasan told BusinessLine.

Retail expansion

The company currently has over 1,600 retail outlets including own stores (1,266) and over 300 franchises . While the company will continue to set up own stores across the country, the focus would be to increase the share of franchise network to over 500 in the next two-to-three years.

Presence in 1,000 towns

Bata, which currently has a presence in across 1,000 towns in India, is looking to set up presence in newer towns and cities even while it continues to strengthen its footprint in existing markets. “We are ramping up presence across multiple towns and we have also identified distributors in some of our existing markets to strengthen our presence in some of these markets,” she said.

The company’s continued focus on key thrust areas of franchise and MBO (multi-brand outlets) expansion, consumer relevant communication, portfolio casualisation and digital footprint expansion have resulted in increase in footfalls across retail outlets, along with significant growth driven via e-commerce platforms and expansion in Tier III to Tier V towns.

15% sales online

Online sales have grown significantly over the last one-to-two years and currently contributes nearly 15-16 per cent of its total sales, she said. The company expects a double digit growth in the segment during the current fiscal.

Bata India, which has been undertaking a strategy of enhancing its portfolio in casual and fashion footwear section across categories, plans to remain focused on the segment. It had, in the past, revamped the sneakers range and that has been witnessing a good growth in demand. Formal shoes and footwear has also been gaining traction with people going back to school and offices.