BENGALURU: Shoemaker Bata NSE -1.98 % India will refrain from both discounting and increasing product price as popular tactics to compensate for revenue loss faced due to lockdown and rise in operating cost of its physical stores in the new normal.
“We are maintaining pre-Covid pricing for our products despite an increase in our operational cost post lockdown. We are not discounting as we don’t want customers to rush back and crowd the stores in times of social distancing,” said Sandeep Kataria, CEO of Bata India, in a press briefing by the company’s senior leadership.
About 53% of the shoemaker’s physical stores have reopened for business with restricted service hours since April 27, starting with states of Goa and Kerala. According to Kataria, stores in residential areas performed better than those on high street. Tier 2, 3 and 5 markets showed faster recovery and achieved pre-Covid numbers in the initial phase of reopening retail. Green shoots are, however, expected in September and the following festive period, the company noted.
“Need-based essentials such as home footwear, footwear for growing children, sports shoes for training at home and products below Rs 1000 are being replenished in the current phase. Fashion footwear will pick up in September,” said Kataria.
While Bata India has stalled plans to open any new store in the next 3-6 months, the footwear maker has invested in expanding its product portfolio to stay relevant. The company recently launched new verticals such as Work-From-Home range with slip-ons and sandals, a collection of washable footwear, and anti-viral masks for adults and children.
“We are launching disinfecting sprays and wipes for bags and footwear in June,” added Kataria.
Expanding ecommerce footprint is another key focus for the company the remainder of the year. Home shopping with WhatsApp chat, a pilot launched two weeks ago, is set to be rolled out to the rest of the country.
“Although 95% of our network was shut down and recovery will be slow, Bata will continue to invest in India market. We have had three successful years as a company,” said Alberto Toni, CFO of Bata Group.
Bata India reported a 56.68 per cent decline in consolidated net profit at Rs 38.40 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2020 due to Covid-19 induced lockdown. The company had posted a net profit of Rs 88.66 crore in January-March quarter a year ago, stated a BSE filing.
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