Bata sets sights on opening 10 new stores before year-end

Nairobi County Deputy Governor James Njoroge (third left) and Bata Kenya Managing Director Benson Okumu (third left) cut a ribbon during Bata Shoe Company relaunching of its Hilton CBD store in Nairobi on April 17, 2024.

Photo credit: Bonface Bogita | Nation Media Group

Footwear multi-national Bata Corporation is set to open 10 new retail outlets in Kenya this year as part of an expansion strategy.

Bata Managing Director, Benson Okumu said the extra stores would help enhance customer experience.

"We have spent over Sh400 million in the last few years investing back into the country. This has been invested in our state-of-the-art facility in Limuru, facelifting our stores and opening new stores. We have also gone into a new channel of domestic franchising and will be opening another seven this year," he said during the reopening of the company’s Bata Hilton store in Nairobi on Wednesday evening.

Kenya's footwear market is in a state of flux, with consumer tastes and shopping habits undergoing significant change. Traditional mortar footwear retailers are under pressure from the rise of e-commerce to tap into the growing middle class.

Mr Okumu said the company would focus on understanding the demographics of its customers as a way of dealing with competition in the market.

“What has changed is that customers want style, value for money, and durability and they are also price sensitive. Last year we grew by 27 percent and this year we are looking at 15 percent growth.’’

The shoemaker and retailer manufactures a wide range of footwear including shoes for school, casual, and formal wear. The company's factory in Limuru produces shoes for the local market as well as exports to the region.

Regionally Bata has stores in Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, and South Sudan while it has a presence in Malawi, Ghana, Namibia as well as South Africa among others.

The shoe company has traditionally located its stores in areas with heavy human traffic usually close to public transport terminuses.

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