Bata India to boost online presence to drive sales amid lockdown disruption

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Published: May 27, 2020 12:50 AM

Bata India’s net profit declined to Rs 37.60 crore in the three months to March from Rs 88.26 crore in Q4 FY2019, primarily due to the lockdown-induced disruption in operations.

As of May 25, nearly 809 stores that form about 53% of the company’s total store count are operational in the country.As of May 25, nearly 809 stores that form about 53% of the company’s total store count are operational in the country. (File image)

Bata will strengthen its online presence to drive sales as the company expects more consumers to shift to e-commerce in the days to come. The firm’s online store Bata.in is witnessing an escalation in demand, said India CEO Sandeep Kataria.

As part of the efforts, Bata has widened its portfolio on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra, and has also rolled out WhatsApp shopping across the country — a feature that was tested over the past two weeks. Consumers can shop from homes via WhatsApp chat with Bata stores located in their neighbourhood.

“Sales, at least in the short-term, will move online,” Kataria said at a virtual press briefing on Tuesday.

Bata India’s net profit declined to Rs 37.60 crore in the three months to March from Rs 88.26 crore in Q4 FY2019, primarily due to the lockdown-induced disruption in operations.

As of May 25, nearly 809 stores that form about 53% of the company’s total store count are operational in the country. Recovery, however, is being led by stores located in residential areas, while footfalls in high-street stores have been minimal. In terms of geographical area, Tier-III, -IV and -V towns are leading business revival. Although consumer demand has been picking up gradually every week for the last three weeks, Bata is not looking at giving discounts.

“The business is currently in the revival phase. The next phase will be revitalisation and then it will thrive. In the first phase, the demand will be need-based,” said Kataria. The company expects products priced below Rs 1,000 to sell more in the initial phases.

To cater to consumer needs amid the pandemic, Bata India has launched ‘work from home’ and ‘easy-wash’ footwear collection. It has no plans to increase product prices at least in the short-term.

The company has put store expansion plans on hold for the next three to six months. However, capital expenditure in factories will continue. Global CFO Alberto Toni said Bata would continue to invest in the India market.

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