Moves Are Afoot to Keep Bata In-step

Bata South Africa is currently repositioning and revamping its operation nationwide to be in-line with the Bata brand across the globe with a specific focus on improving the overall shopping experience for the customer.

Retail and wholesale divisions have been under the spotlight in 2017, new appointments have taken place in senior management and the manufacturing division will be reviewed in the near future.

“Transformation of the brand is already underway, with the closing of some stores and the revamping of others,” says John Harman, Bata SA country manager. “The aim is to reposition Bata from being predominantly wholesaler to more of a retailer by improving the overall shopping experience for the customer.”

Bata’s success in offering reliable footwear has made it synonymous with its school shoe range and now the challenge is to highlight its other products to appeal to the fashion-savvy shopper.

Having conducted extensive research, the company is rationalising its retail footprint and focusing on escalating its presence in ‘B’ and ‘C’ grade malls. “We would like to open more stores in the future similar to those in Durban’s Gateway, Pretoria’s Menlyn and Cape Town’s Canal Walk,” Harman explains.

Merchandise and brands carried by Bata are currently under review. “While Bata intends to retain its reputation as a supplier of affordable, reliable footwear, we are placing a lot more emphasis on promoting our trendy footwear lines,” Harman adds.

The well-known high-quality Toughees brand has been a mainstay of Bata SA for decades and is estimated to hold 45% of the leather school-shoe market – that’s almost half of the 9 million pairs sold in South Africa annually.

Bata South Africa will continue to promote this successful line but will also be introducing a new synthetic school-shoe range to stores. Both brands will be locally-made.

The other truly-local, ever-popular Tomy Takkies line is also being repositioned. The brand has been part of the South African footwear scene since 1964 and will have all sectors – including distribution, marketing and product development – reviewed to elevate its position in the marketplace.

Wholesaling will be increased in the various products in the Bata Industrials ranges.

“By expanding our wholesale presence and strengthening our retail operations, we are confident that we are just beginning to unpack our full potential,” says Harman.

**Globally, Bata has 5200 retail stores in more than 70 countries, as well as production facilities in 18 countries.

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