MR. RAJEEV GOPALAKRISHNAN
I am very happy and proud to share with you the overall performance ofthe Company for the financial year 2017-18. The previous year was very exciting anddynamic for us. Not only have we grown in our top line & bottom line we havecontinued to push hard and double down on our agenda of making our brand more vibrantcontemporary and aligned towards the newer and younger consumers.
We kept our focus on our global strategies of "Product isKing" and "Wow Pricing" and we've seen the results in our storesalready. Our products are contemporary and in-line with the consumer demands at priceswhich are better than our competitors. The Company has a renewed rigour and focus on itsmarketing activities. Keeping in mind the latest trends and the competitive scenario wehave launched great consumer campaigns. This well thought-out strategy has paid off as wesee some healthy numbers with our turnover reaching Rs. 26363 Million in 2017-18.
As we all know women and kids footwear are the fastest-growingsegments in our country. In view of this the Company has continuously launched a wideportfolio of flagship products for women and kids. In the men's segment we'vefocussed on contemporary shoes as well as the sports and athleisure categories. Thisstrategy has strongly reinforced the brand's positioning across the country.
Last year started on a strong footing. The first quarter saw thehigh-decibel launch of many new collection which included international styles for womensuch as the Bata Insolia range probably the world's most comfortable heels.
India is on a growth path and the Company has endeavoured to stayabreast with the market and keep evolving its products with value additions. This hashelped Bata to get to a higher price point in cities with a strong focus on contemporaryand fashionable designs. With a sharp focus on driving product and operational costefficiencies while ensuring a smooth transition to GST we managed to ensure higherstandards of consumer experience and returns to our stakeholders.
Sports lifestyle is the new standard of living. This opened a bigopportunity for working with Power one of the most widely-distributed sports brands inthe country. In view of leveraging these new consumer trends Bata launched the PowerGlide Steam and N-Walk collections promoting them digitally through the #WalkWithPowerCampaign featuring Miss India World 2015 Aditi Arya. Keeping up with its image of being ayouthful and trendy brand Bata India also brought a complete new set of buyers to thestores with its exciting casual and sporty Tweens collection for those aged between 10 and14 years.
To create a deeper connect with the young audience of our country andto capitalize on cricket India's favorite sport we got on board Smriti Mandhanathe opener of Indian Women's Cricket Team as the new brand ambassador of our sportsbrand Power. Smriti is promoting Power's latest range - XO Rise which are runningshoes with more rebound and Power Glide Vapor lightweight with memory foam for addedcomfort. Both these collections are available in Bata stores across the country. StarringSmriti Mandhana sporting the new Power range - XO Rise Genesis Glide Vapor and Speedy -we launched our 360 degree campaign #FindYourPower TV Campaigns for Power shoesencouraging people to have a healthier and more active lifestyle.
Cricket and movies are two of India's greatest passions and wehave left no stone unturned to ensure that we have achievers from both these fieldsrepresenting what Bata stands for. We signed on young and acclaimed Bollywood actressKriti Sanon as the new face for Bata India. With a huge fan base comprising mostlyGenNext Kriti brings to the brand her youthful and fresh energy. She is promoting ourbrands that are popular with the youth and can be seen in our latest TV CampaignCome and be Surprised at Bata' showcasing the latest and trendy women'scollections.
We opened our first standalone Power store in Noida inaugurated by Mr.Alexis Nasard Global CEO Bata Shoe Organisation and Bollywood actress Diana Penty. Onpopular demand Bata also brought back its iconic Ambassador collection in a much morecomfortable premium and contemporary avatar.
The areas that naturally draw in today's youngsters are beauty andsports. With good efforts being made under the sports segment we then signed on MissIndia 2017 Manushi Chillar as the face of our festive season collection that comprised ofevening party and formal wear. Manushi then went on to win the coveted Miss World Crown.This further motivated us to be associated with the pageant and this year too we aretheir official footwear partner.
Our biggest assets are our stores across the country. To give ourconsumers the best value for the brand and products we have invested in making thein-store experience more consumer friendly and utilized the benefits of digitaltechnology. Our new larger-format stores combined with better visual merchandising havehelped us grow tremendously. Premiumisation fashion and technology-driven comfort havealso helped drive footfall into our stores. All our Bata Flagship stores have beenrenovated across India to reflect a European theme.
In the fourth quarter we launched our first Red Angela StoreConcept' in Kolkata and Delhi with a red and white "colour touch"standardised format creating a homogeneous layout that has instant brand recall for Batastores across the world. LED lighting in the shelves headers highlighting products whitelounge seats encouraging self-service in consumers and a redefined sports shoe wall withred square graphics accentuating key sports products are among the new introductions tothese concept stores.
Our non-urban market is as important as the urban market. The non-urbanmarket has seen an impressive growth coming from Tier-II and Tier-III cities. Bata haslaunched new store concepts with clutter-free aesthetics and visual impact in smallertowns in the current financial year.
Women segment is one of the fastest growing segments in the country.Respecting the spirit of womanhood our Company has not only focussed on great productsfor women but also a great experience in our stores. We've constantly pushed for morediversity in our stores with a larger female workforce. Bata also launched the first everAll-Women Store' in Bengaluru with contemporary and stylish designs forprofessionals as well as athleisure wear.
Additional footfall was generated through various marketinginitiatives including the TV Campaign Me. And Comfortable With It' thatshowcased the new confident image of Bata India. We also organised the first edition ofthe Bata Fashion Event in New Delhi which was attended by leading fashion editorsbloggers and influencers. The event coincided with a visit by the Global CEO - Mr. AlexisNasard and Global CMO - Mr. Thomas A. Bata.
Being a Multi-National Company we organised a Bata FashionWeekend' the first of which was held in Prague last year and was attended by fashioneditors and journalists from across the globe. Its resounding success led to a secondedition this year in Milan where we took more than 10 media influencers to witness thegrand spectacle with Bata's global upcoming and trendy collections for men and women.
The Company continues to push strongly its digital agenda and ourdigital sales have rocketed last year as well. We relaunched our website with a muchtrendier and user-friendly UX/UI. Our partnerships with e-commerce players like AmazonFlipkart Myntra etc. have grown deeper and more meaningful. This has helped us growcontinuously and profitably in our digital business. We've also debuted ourmuch-awaited Home Delivery service in Delhi and NCR using digital tools. This serviceprovides a great consumer experience and better conversion at the same time.
All of this would mean nothing to us as a Company if we are not able togive back to the society by serving and enhancing people's lives. Our unique CSRcampaign The Ballerina Project' was launched in Kolkata to empower the girlchild in association with Project Nanhi Kali that provides quality education to over135000 underprivileged girls across India.
New appointments to the Bata team were made keeping in mind there-positioning and evolution of the brand. Mr. Sandeep Kataria was appointed by the Boardof Directors on November 14 2017 as the Whole-time Director and Chief Executive Officerand also a Key Managerial Person (KMP) of the Company.
We have had an exciting and eventful year and would not have achievedany of this without the loyalty and commitment of our greatest asset - our employees.
As we have successfully transitioned into becoming the evolved brandthat we are today we are ready to take on the needs of the changing tech-savvy buyer andwe are well-equipped to provide them with a world-class global shopping experience bothat the urban and rural levels. Going forward all our footwear solutions will mirror thelatest customised and individualistic consumer demands and while we continue this journeywe will pick up many valuable lessons. I would like to thank you for trusting us andcoming along with us on this wonderful journey that began more than 8 decades ago.
I invite you all to come and be surprised at Bata!