Kolkata: Footwear major Bata India is planning to open around 100 outlets in this financial year despite the COVID-19 outbreak to strengthen its network in semi-urban and rural markets. Most of these new stores will be franchises.
The shoemaker currently has around 1,500 stores across India and plans to step up the number to 2000 by 2023.
"We will open around 100 stores this year and 80 per cent of these outlets will be opened through a franchise model in tier-II and tier-III cities," Bata India chairman Ashwani Windlass told PTI.
The network expansion will be executed mostly in rural areas where economic performance has been comparatively better than in urban areas during the current COVID-19 crisis, another company official said.
The footwear major has taken a new initiative -- Bata Store-on-Wheels -- to reach out to customers in urban areas. Bata India CEO Sandeep Kataria said this new channel allows customers to shop at their doorsteps.
The temporary stores are set up at large residential complexes and condominiums. It offers shopping convenience to customers, especially children and elderly whose movement has been restricted due to the pandemic.
Windlass said the footwear manufacturer has taken several digital marketing initiatives and he hoped that the share of e-commerce sales will double this fiscal.
Bata's share of online sales through its own portal and third-party e-tailers is estimated at around five to six per cent.
Bata India is expanding its e-commerce footprint by ramping up its presence in online marketplaces, allowing delivery in over 1,300 cities and rolling out home delivery from more than 900 stores.
The shoemaker has rolled out an option for its customers to shop from the comfort of their homes via WhatsApp chats with employees in their neighbourhood stores, the officials added....