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Bata India heads towards online channels under new strategy in post-covid era

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Footwear maker Bata seeks to continue its growth journey in India by realigning its retail strategy. Focusing on digital platforms, the company is putting up offerings on its website, Bata.in, and also looking at alternate channels such as WhatsApp in order to connect with its customers. According to the company, the easing of the lockdown has brought back 60-70% of the footfall in tier II cities and beyond; but only 20-30% of the pre-COVID level in the metros. Bata India currently gets about 6-7% of its sales from online channels, including e-commerce marketplaces and its own website. Thus, it is targeting digital novices as well as digital natives under its new strategy.

Vice President of Marketing, Anand Narang said, “Some of our core customers are not comfortable on the internet and hence, we have taken initiatives such as setting up mobile shops in apartment complexes for them.” A Bata Chat Shop has been rolled out on Whatsapp. It covers 600 of Bata’s stores across India, where customers can chat with their neighbourhood store to order products. The company has 1,500 stores in the country and 70% of them are currently operational.

The company, looking at digital ways, has scaled up its inventory and is delivering to more than 1,300 cities. Narang added that they have introduced apparel under the Power brand a few months ago in select stores. This range has now been launched online as well. Apart from apparel, Bata India is also rearranging its product portfolio with an emphasis on casual footwear instead of formal fashion. “We have brought out an easy-to-wash collection that enables professionals venturing out to wash their footwear after returning home, to ensure safety,” Narang said.

In an attempt to cut costs, the footwear company is now looking at the digitization of its processes as well. This includes connecting over 1,000 stores to warehouses for inventory optimization and becoming a paperless organization. VP Narang also said that the company is digitally connecting with its franchisees, who can now track their orders digitally. The company has cut down its overall marketing budget through the digital medium as well. Naturally, the share of spends on digital has almost tripled.

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Retail

CCI approves Flipkart’s acquisition of ABFRL minority stakes

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22 January: Flipkart Investments Private Limited had requested purchase of a minority stake in Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail Limited which was approved by the Competition Commission of India. FIPL proposed the acquisition of 7.8% equity shares of the public limited company ABFRL.

The proposal was drafted in October 2020 which mentions that by way of subscription of equity shares, FIPL is to invest a total of Rs. 1,500 crore for minority shareholding of 7.8%, on a fully diluted basis in ABFRL.

Sharing their take of the website, ABFRL said, “In addition to approval of shareholders by way of Postal Ballot (received on November 22, 2020), the issue was subject to regulatory approvals and completion of customary closing conditions under the Investment Agreement. In this regard, we wish to inform you that CCI has accorded its approval to Flipkart for its proposed acquisition of 7.8 per cent equity stake in the company on a fully diluted basis vide its approval letter dated January 20, 2021.”

Also read: Jewellery brand Melorra allocates $50 million for its offline foray, aims at launching 350 stores

Flipkart Investments Private Limited is a newly incorporated company and a subsidiary, wholly owned by Flipkart Private Limited.

ABFRL is a part of Aditya Birla conglomerate and is a public limited company incorporated in India. The company is involved in manufacturing and retailing of branded apparels, accessories, and footwear. The services are provided through their retail stores across India. Other than this, they have multi-brand outlets, departmental stores, e-commerce platforms as well.

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Surat’s polished diamond exports improves; overall rise by 41%

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20 January: With coronavirus impacting the overall diamond polishing industry in Surat, December month witnessed a significant boost in the polished diamond exports.

The total polished diamond exports rose by 41% year-on-year in December in the previous year as the total stood on Rs. 12,692 crore. Whereas the export count was Rs. 8,000 crore in December of 2019. The data was cited by the Gem and Jewellery Export Promotion Council and reported by TNN.

Surat’s diamond industry was specifically hit hard during the pandemic as many workers fell ill forcing the polishing units to be shut temporarily. The exports of polishing diamonds decreased by 30% during April to November time period in 2020, however, increasing by 158% towards the end of the unforgettable year.

Also read: Jewellery brand Melorra allocates $50 million for its offline foray, aims at launching 350 stores

The export increases were fueled ahead of the holiday seasons reportedly in China and the United States. Both are the main destinations for India’s exported polished diamonds. Other than this, a decreasing covid restriction in India has also contributed towards the increased demand.

This gave a ray of hope to the industry as the boost was much-needed after covid-19 took over the businesses and their operations. Since the pandemic, this is the first time that the industry witnessed a year-to-year increase giving a confidence boost in the sector.

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Textile industry might get stable by 2022 financial year, states ICRA

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Textile industry, January: 2022 will be seeing a stabilised Indian textile sector along with the cotton spinning and apparel exports segment faring ‘especially well’, this was Consumer Ratings Business ICRA‘s confidence. The confidence came to light when it said that the cotton spinning and apparel exports could be increased by 15% to 20% in the financial year of 2022.

Further, fabrics could go up by between 30% to 35% and domestic apparel segments could grow by 35% to 40%. At the same time, these segments are expected to face steep declines in the 2021 financial year.

With the rolling out of the vaccinations in the country leading to a rise in the positive consumer behaviour, ICRA is confident the industry will see a silver lining in the coming time. Economies are opening and a surge can be witnessed in the domestic and export demand. With this, the textile sector can expect the positive sentiment of the third quarter of the 2021 financial year to continue in the upcoming quarters.

Also read: FMCG players consider price hike, amid inflationary pressure on raw material inputs

Talking about the findings, Jayanta Roy serving as ICRA’s senior vice president and group head for the Corporate Sector Ratings was quoted as saying to Press Trust of India, “As demand continues to normalise in domestic as well as export markets, we expect the textile sector performance to recover to pre-Covid levels in FY2022 at a broader level. Accordingly, ICRA’s textiles sector outlook for FY2022 is stable.”

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