“Now, we are in the process of refurbishing all the three plants – one near Kolkata, and two others in Patna and Bangalore”, Bata India Managing Director, R Gopalakrishnan, said after its AGM.

This revamp would be complete within 18 months at around Rs 50 crore (US$8.5 million), he said.

Gopalakrishnan also confirmed that the tannery at Mokama in Bihar was shut down last year. The company is yet to decide on the 33-acre siteof the tannery that still remains with the company.

Retail stores

The company, which opened 95 large format retail stores last calendar year, has decided to open 130 to 140 such stores in urban centres, according to Gopalakrishnan.

It has also planned to take the franchise route in tier III and IV cities. “Some 20 such small format (100 sq.m.) stores have already been established. Our plan is to set up a total of 100 small format franchised retail outlets by the end of this calendar year,” he said.

Parallel to this, Bata is making its first move to penetrate into rural areas in two states, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, through its distribution network.

It is also expanding its new retail brand Footin to compete with the unorganised sector in urban areas with “affordable and trendy footwear”. Bata Chairman Uday Khanna said at the company’s AGM.