Even as the retail trade industry in India faces one of its worst crises in recent years, Bata India, one of the country's largest footwear chains, plans to open 40 new stores across the country by March 31.
"These new stores will be based on the international format of Bata stores and will have an average size of 3,000 square feet," the company said in a statement, making it clear that the outlets will not be small.
It said the investment for the expansion would be raised through internal accruals but declined to quantify the amount.
Bata is the among the largest footwear retailers in India with a market share of over 20 percent in the organised sector.
The chain has currently over 1,200 stores located in more than 400 towns and cities.
"Bata India has opened over 150 new large format stores since 2006 and will continue to open 60 new stores every year. Our retail expansion plans are aimed at meeting the shoe requirements of our customers across India," said Bata India managing director Marcelo Villagran.
The new stores will primarily be located in tier-I and tier-II cities like Sonepat, Kota, Jodhpur, Ludhiana, Berhampur, Mandya, Gangtok, Hubli and Nasik, apart from the metros.
A company official said the footwear major was witnessing double digit growth inspite of the financial slowdown that has hit corporate India across sectors.
According to a recent joint study by Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry and consultancy KPMG, between $25-30 billion investment is anticipated for setting up of over 1,000 hypermarkets and over 5,000 supermarkets in the next four to five years.