Remember the phrase, ‘The bottom of your foot is the switchboard of your body?’ Well, Bata India, certainly believes in it. The company, with a 24 per cent marketshare in the organised footwear market, is looking towards a complete revamp. It is also planning to cut down 2,300 employees in India realising that the cost structure has been out of line.
“As a step towards rejuvenating the brand, we are repositioning ourselves in India as a market-driven, fashion conscious lifestyle brand. In an effort to do so we are looking at renovating our existing retail outlets and also indulge in brand building, “ said Stephen J Davies, MD, Bata India.
Incidentally, Bata has made investments to the tune of Rs 2 crore in the current year to improve its logistics and distribution system. Large systems have also been made in the area of Information Technology to integrate approximately 150 stores in real-time information capturing.
“We are targeting net sales to cross Rs 840-crore mark and aiming at least 10 per cent growth in 2005. We realised that the company didn’t do too well, so a consolidated effort is in place for a turnaround to happen,” he said.
Interestingly, the company has its plans lined up. Firstly, focus on the existing retail outlets, renovate and strengthen them, secondly, look at brand building exercise and finally introduce ethically right VRS schemes. “We are going to introduce a system, which believes in valuable pay according to the performance of the store,” said Constantine Salameh, Senior VP and CFO.
Asked if the company is looking at promotional activities as part of the branding exercise, he said, “We are not looking at too much of advertising. We would have a brand loyalty check and our main selling theme, ‘Can you feel it’, will be communicated through the stores. The emphasis would be on products and pricepoints and hence most of the promotions will take place through retail.”