The Success Story of Bata: The 128 years old Swiss Footwear Company leading the Indian Footwear Market

Shalini Rath Shalini Rath
Oct 19, 2022 11 min read
The Success Story of Bata: The 128 years old Swiss Footwear Company leading the Indian Footwear Market

Company Profile is an initiative by StartupTalky to publish verified information on different startups and organizations. The content in this post has been approved by Bata.

Fashion is the way of life that many people love showing off. It is not just limited to clothes but fashion also includes footwear and other accessories that add a style statement to one's overall personality appearance. It also reflects their attitude by giving us a glimpse of the person's approach toward life.

Fashion in the context of footwear and apparel is considered to be a big business. We can say that fashion is one of the most attractive and fascinating industries of today. The industry is a wide platform that offers vast access to different styles and trends. Not alone apparel fashion industries but industries offering footwear have become quite successful in what they do.

Bata, the brand we have seen right from our early days, is one of the leading footwear and fashion accessory industries in the world today. The Bata Corporation was founded over 125 years ago by Antonín Baťa, Tomáš Baťa, and Anna Baťová. The company makes footwear, apparel, and other fashion accessories.

In this article, we have gathered all the relevant information about Bata's success journey. Know all about Bata's foundation story, its founder's story, growth, key products, business and revenue model, and the challenges faced.

Bata - Company Highlights

Headquarters Lausanne, Switzerland
Sector Retail, Footwear, leather, and apparel manufacturing
Type Private
Area served Worldwide
Founder Antonín Baťa, Tomáš Baťa, Anna Baťová
Founded 1894
Revenue Rs 17 billion (2021) - Bata India Ltd.
Parent Organisation Bata Family
Website www.bata.in / thebatacompany.com

About Bata
Bata - Industry
Bata - Founders and Team
The success story of Bata/ Startup Story -
Bata - Mission and Vision
Bata - Business and Revenue Model
Bata - Funding, and Investors
Bata - Mergers, and Acquisitions
Bata - Advertisements and Social Media Campaigns
Bata - Competitors
Bata - Awards and Achievements
FAQs

About Bata

The Bata Corporation, often known as Bata and Baa in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, is a multinational producer and retailer of footwear, clothing, and fashion accessories with its headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The company is of Moravian (Czech) descent. The company was founded on 24 August 1894 by three  Antonín Baťa, Tomáš Baťa, and Anna Baťová.

Being a family-run company, the Bata Group has been able to offer clients all over the world the greatest shoes at the best rates, supported by unmatched service, for more than 120 years. Today, the company is one of the world's leading manufacturers and retailers of quality footwear.

Bata has a presence with more than 32,000 employees, 21 production facilities, and over 5,300 stores in more than 70 countries across the globe. The company likes to enhance the quality of life in each community where it operates. In addition to offering chances for both personal and professional growth, Bata likes to provide support to its customers, colleagues, and the community at large.

The company's business is divided into three branches:

  • Bata
  • Bata Industrials (safety shoes)
  • AW Lab (sports style)

More than 20 brands and labels, including Bata, North Star, Bata 3D, Power, Bubblegummers, Weinbrenner, Sandak, Hushpuppies, Bata Comfit, CAT, Marie Claire, and Toughees, are part of Bata's portfolio firm.

With an annual sales volume of 150 million pairs of shoes, the company is one of the largest shoe manufacturers in the world.

Bata - Industry

Bata belongs to the shoemaking and retail industry for manufacturing various shoes and other fashion-related products. According to projections, the worldwide retail analytics market would increase at a CAGR of 17.7% from $5.84 billion in 2021 to $18.33 billion in 2028.

Bata - Founders and Team

The Bata Group is founded by three siblings-  Antonín Baťa, Tomáš Baťa, and Anna Baťová in 1894.

Tomáš Baťa

Tomáš Baťa is the man behind the foundation of the Bata shoe company. He was a Czech entrepreneur, who was born on 3rd April 1876. It was on August 24, 1894, Tomá Baa founded the organization in Zlin with 800 Austrian guldens (about $320 today), money he inherited from his mother. The T. & A. Bata Shoe Company was founded by his sister Anna and brother Antonn Baa. Even though this business was only recently founded, the family has been creating shoes for eight generations and more than three hundred years. His new business's rapid rise in popularity was aided by this legacy. In 1908, Tomá Baa acquired sole ownership of the business following the death of his brother Antonn Baa from sickness. Two of Tom's younger brothers, Jan Bata and Bohus, joined the company. Due to terrible weather, he perished in a flying crash, ending his illustrious career.

Jan Antonín Baťa

Jan Antonin Bata born on March 7, 1898, was a Czecho-Brazilian shoe manufacturer from Uherské Hradit (southeastern Moravia). He was also known as Jan Antonin Bata or Jan Bata and was dubbed "The King of Shoes." After the death of his half-brother Tomáš Baťa, Jan took over the Bata company. Even at the height of the Great Depression, he put fresh expansion strategies in place for the Bata firms. His activities included diversification into new industries such as tire manufacturing, textiles, chemicals, mines, canals, a railroad, film studios, bicycle and airplane manufacturing, the creation of department shops for the general public, and import/export. His Czech portion of the firm more than doubled in size during his tenure, reaching 38,000 employees, 2,200 stores, and 70 enterprises. In Slovakia, the Slovak economy similarly experienced exponential growth, going from 250 persons to 12,340 and 8 businesses.

Anna Baťová

Anna Baťová helped her brother Tomas with the organization. She evolved as the third and most essential companion. She not only looked after their home but also kept the books, and her ability to get along with people frequently assisted in resolving difficult issues, particularly when they were gradually accruing debt.

Anna was the first of her siblings to become independent when her relatives arranged for her to work with the family in Vienna because she was highly intelligent and did well in school. She considerably assisted her brother Tomá in Vienna, and he eventually decided to follow her.

Gunjan Shah

Gunjan Shah is presently the Chief Executive Officer of Bata India Ltd.

He is a graduate of the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta with a PGDM degree in general management. Prior to joining Bata as the CEO, Gunjan worked at Britannia Industries Limited for almost 15 years.

The success story of Bata/ Startup Story -

The Foundation Story

The company started with the name T. & A. Baťa Shoe Company in 1894 by Tomá Bata, his brother Antonn, and his sister Anna, whose family had been cobblers for generations, founded business in the Moravian town of Zlin, Austria-Hungary (now in the Czech Republic).

It was found later thatTomá was having financial issues in the summer of 1895. He decided to make canvas shoes instead of leather to get around these obstacles. The company hired 50 people as a result of the success of this sort of shoe. Bata erected its first steam-driven equipment four years later, ushering in a period of quick modernization. Tomas saw a newspaper story on certain American-made machinery in 1904. In order to research and comprehend the American method of mass production, he took three employees and traveled to Lynn, a shoemaking community outside of Boston. The "Baovky," its first mass-produced item, was a working-class leather and textile shoe that stood out for its functionality, good looks, low weight, and reasonable price. Its success fueled the company's expansion. Tomá welcomed two of his younger brothers, Jan and Bohu, into the company after Antonn's passing in 1908. In 1909, export sales and the first sales agency were established in Germany. The Balkans and the Middle East thereafter followed.

Bata footwear was regarded as being of outstanding quality and was supplied in a greater variety of styles than ever before. The company had more than 600 full-time employees by 1912, in addition to another several hundred who worked from their homes in nearby settlements.

Growth of Bata shoes during World War I

Due to military orders, the industry had a tremendous development in 1914, the year that World War I broke out. The number of Bata's employees increased 10 times between 1914 and 1918. In addition to other cities, the corporation opened its own stores in Zlin, Prague, Liberec, Vienna, and Plzen.

The post-war expansion of Bata Shoe Company

Consumer reaction to the price reduction was very strong. Between 1923 and 1925, a demand crisis led the majority of competitors to go out of business, but Bata was growing as the demand for its low-cost shoes soared. The Bata Shoe Company boosted output and added staff. Zlin transformed into a true factory town that spans several hectares, called "Bataville" town.

Bata integrated social welfare with the factory's automated efficiency, and his early experiments with collectivism and profit-sharing helped to pave the way for the modernization of industrial administration. Bata Shoes also provided leisure facilities, including a theatre, library, department store, dance halls, espresso bars, a swimming pool, and an airfield, in addition to building employee housing, schools, stores, and a hospital.

The diversification of Bata

Slowly Bata also started to establish towns and factories outside of Czechoslovakia (Poland, Latvia, Romania, Switzerland, France) and with many diversifications into different industries, including tanning (1915), the energy industry (1917), agriculture (1917), forestry (1918), newspaper publishing (1918), brick manufacturing (1918), wood processing (1919), the rubber industry (1923), the construction industry (1924), railway and air transport (1924), book publishing (1926), the film industry (1927), food processing (1927), chemical production (1928), tire manufacturing (1930), insurance (1930), textile production (1931), motor transport (1930), sea transport (1932), and coal mining (1932), airplane manufacturing (1934), synthetic fiber production (1935), and river transport (1938).

The international expansion of Bata

The Bata company had 1,645 shops, 25 enterprises, and 16,560 employees at the time of Tomá's passing. Following Tom Bata's pre-death plans, Jan Antonin Bata grew the business more than six times its initial size throughout Czechoslovakia and the rest of the world.

In the following decade, Bata had its factories set up in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Kenya, Canada, and the United States. In India, the plant was established in Calcutta during the 1930s.

Incorporation of Bata India Limited

Incorporated as Bata Shoe Company Pvt. Ltd. in 1931, Bata India later changed its name to Bata India Ltd. in 1973. In 1993, the Batanagar factory became the first shoe manufacturing facility in India to acquire ISO 9001 accreditation.

Bata India is the largest footwear retailer and producer in India. Bata India's retail network covers 1375 outlets in India. All metros, mini-metros, and towns have stores, which are located in good areas. Through its urban wholesale segment, the company also manages a sizable non-retail distribution network and serves millions of customers through more than 30,000 dealers in India.

Bata's expansion in other countries

In 1934, the company held 300 stores in North America (many of which were renamed with the "Barrett Shoes" trademark after World War II), 1,000 in Asia, and more than 4,000 in Europe. The Group had assets in the tanning, agricultural, newspaper publishing, railway, and air transport, textile manufacture, coal mining, and aviation industries in 1938 and employed slightly over 65,000 people globally, including 36% outside of Czechoslovakia.

Post World War II - Bata's re-growth

After Bata's factory was bombed during World War II, Thomas J. Bata, son of Tomas Bata went to Canada and served as the Vice-President of the Bata Import and Export Company of Canada, founded in 1939. Bohemian and Moravian plants were transferred to another family member, while foreign businesses were split off from the parent corporation. After the Government in Czechoslovakia confiscated Bata's factories in Eastern Europe, it was decided in 1945 that the Bata Shoe Organization's service headquarters would be located at Bata Development Limited in Great Britain. Thomas J. Bata, who was situated in the West, started the company's reconstruction alongside several Czech and Slovak ex-pats. The company slowly rebuilt itself from its new base and entered new markets in Asia, the Middle East, Australia, Africa, and Latin America. Bata formed a confederation of independent entities that might be more responsive to new markets in developing countries, as opposed to structuring these new operations in a more centralized manner.

Bata in the Present Times

The corporation shut down a number of its plants in developed nations during the global economic shifts of the 1990s and concentrated on growing its retail operation. Bata left Canada gradually over time.

Today, with more than 32,000 employees, more than 5,300 shops, 21 production facilities, and a retail presence in more than 70 countries on five continents, Bata believes that it serves more than 1 million customers every day. Among the nations where Bata is well-established in India, where it has operated since 1931. There are four factories that makeup Bata India. The largest shoe manufacturer in Asia is located in Kolkata's Batanagar Industrial Township (1930).

Bata Group is split up into five geographical areas: Africa (with a regional office in Limuru, Kenya), Asia-Pacific (with a regional office in Singapore), Latin America (with a regional office in Santiago, Chile), India (with a regional office in New Delhi), and Europe (with a regional office based in Padua, Italy).

Bata - Mission and Vision

Bata Group follows five values in which they truly believe in, these are:

  • Count on Me
  • Improving Life
  • Exceed Customer Expectations
  • Be Bold
  • Serve With Passion

Bata's mission defines its passion, which reads, "We love making stand-out footwear our customers can wear to look good and feel good all day long, and always with price tags that impress them too."

Bata - Business and Revenue Model

The Bata company's business mostly manufactures shoes and other fashion-related accessories.

The company's business is divided into three branches: Bata, Bata Industrials (safety shoes), and AW Lab (sports style) as mentioned earlier.

The company follows an adaptation strategy by targeting its local audience as per their taste. You can find that the company has a dedicated website for each of its regional audiences, this is because Bata likes to do business by attracting its local customers.

Talk about Bata India Ltd, the brand is a hit in the country. By offering affordable shoes in India, today, Bata has become the number one favorite shoe brand for many Indians. The brand is so popular in India, that many Indians think of it as the local brand. That's how the company is powerful with its adaptation strategy.

Bata operates its business with many factories situated all over the world with a strong presence in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Outside Europe.

Some of the major brands under the Bata label are:

  • Bata/Baťa
  • Ambassador - classic men's shoes
  • Bata 3D - urban sneakers
  • Bata Comfit - comfort shoes
  • Bata Flexible - comfort shoes
  • Bata Red Label - trendy shoes
  • Bata Industrials - work & safety
  • Marie Claire - women’s shoes
  • North Star - urban shoes
  • Verlon - school shoes
  • Teener - school shoes
  • Footin - school shoes
  • B-First - school shoes
  • Weinbrenner - outdoor shoes
  • Bubblegummers - children's shoes
  • Power - athletic shoes
  • Bata Industrials - work & safety
  • Toughees - school shoes
  • Patapata - flip flops
  • Tomy Takkies - urban shoes

Bata Group commands around 35% of the market share in India. Its revenue from operations (India) was at Rs 2,387.71 crore in 2021-22, 39.75% higher than Rs 1,708.48 crore in the year-ago period.

Bata - Funding, and Investors

Bata is funded by Ventures Platform with an undisclosed amount.

Bata - Mergers, and Acquisitions

In 2014, Bata India merged its wholly-owned subsidiaries - Bata Properties Ltd and Coastal Commercial & Exim Ltd.

Bata - Advertisements and Social Media Campaigns

When it comes to advertising and attracting customers, Bata does it like a boss. The marketing strategy of Bata focuses mainly on geographics, demographics, and psychographics.

Bata India has roped in various celebrities to target its Indian audience.

In 2021, Bata launched the 'Relaxed Workwear' Collection for Indian Customers by featuring Kartik Aryan.

The brand had also roped in Kriti Sanon for its campaign called 'Kick out 2020' to mark Bata's new collection of everyday footwear. Its Ready Again' collections have various shoes and sandals for casual wear, festive wear, fitness, etc.

Bata - Competitors

Bata group competes with the following competitors:

Bata - Awards and Achievements

Bata India Ltd. has won many awards:

  • Bata won the Most Admired Omni-channel retailer award
  • Recognized in India's Top 100 Franchise Opportunities
  • Bata won Championship Award for Quality
  • Bata won Best Contactless Service Experience
  • Most admired fashion brand of the year (footwear) - 2019
  • Bata won Most Influential Brand of the Year - in 2019
  • Bata has won Most Trusted Brand - 2018

FAQs

What is Bata known for?

Bata is known to be the largest player in the Indian footwear industry.

Who is the CEO of Bata?

Sandeep Kataria is the CEO of Bata.

Who is the brand ambassador of Bata?

Disha Patani is the brand ambassador of Bata.

Who owns Bata?

Bata is owned by Bata family.

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