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Bata rebuffs industry speculations on its garment foray

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Industry speculations that Bata will launch apparel brand are not validated yet. The company is looking at it as a vague idea that may or may not be considered when the board sits and discusses the company’s future strategy.

Sharing the company’s plans with Indiaretailing, Marcelo Villagran, managing director, Bata India, said: “Garmenting business is just one of the many other possibilities that we may think about. As of now, we’ve not chalked out any plans for the same. Instead, the company will add focus on Bata’s branded bags, belts and other accessories.”

“The company is primarily focusing on opening new stores or renovating old ones into large-format stores. We’ve opened a 10,000 square feet, multi-storey store in Vadodara, and more such are in order.”

Bata recently opened its first exclusive Hush Puppies showroom for the country in Hyderabad. Bata is the sole distributor for this casual footwear brand from the United States. The company will open two more such outlets, one each in Bangalore and New Delhi.

“Only two more Hush Puppies outlets are on the cards. After accessing their performance, we will plan more. We are also developing a new strategy for the brand,” said Villagran.

Asked if company will open exclusive outlets for other brands like North Star and Power, Villagran said: “Nothing has been planned in this regard; all other brands in our portfolio will continue to sell through Bata stores.”

Answering a query on Bata extending the brand’s portfolio, Villagran said: “No more international or home-made brands will be added; we shall strengthen positioning of those already there, by adding new designs and collections.”

After incurring losses for three consecutive years, Bata India had posted net profits to the tune of Rs 12.49 crore at the end of December 2006. Since then, the company is trying to keep up the pace and is now experimenting with large-format stores.

One of the country’s oldest organised retailers is currently more visible in shopping malls and is also exploring possibilities to expand through shop-in-shop in MBOs. It is open to the franchisee model, too.

– Ranjan Kaplish

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