Bata sees prospects in small towns: VP

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Bata India, one of the largest retail chains of footwear in the country since 1931, is getting returns much higher from tier II and III cities than metros, said Manoj Chandra, vice president – marketing and customer service, Bata India, on the third day of India Retail Forum 2008 at the Renaissance, Mumbai.

“In the last two years, we opened more than 200 new stores each spreading across an area in between 2,000 and 6,000 square feet in small cities and 70 per cent of the sales growth from new stores has come from these stores only,” he said.

Attributing the reasons for such growth, Chandra added, “Small towns are witnessing increase in household incomes. It is just that the consumers in these towns lack excitement and exposure to new lifestyle and that is why we are focusing to offer them the same taste soon.”

According to him, trends in tier II and III towns and people’s desire for better, exposed and advanced lifestyle are also a big determining factor for opening stores in such cities. For instance, it has been observed that the sale of women’s closed shoes and high heels are surprisingly rising. Also, non-traditional footwear such as sports and casual footwear segments are witnessing a rapid growth. Similar trends have led to an upsurge in average bill value in such cities.

“There is a lot of potential in tier II and other small towns to be explored. Bata currently operates in over 400 cities across India and plans to open another 70 to 80 stores in the future,” Chandra informed.

– Sanskrity Sinha and Juhi Sharma

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