While shopping at Viviana Mall, Thane, I got a chance to visit the Bata showroom housed in Mumbai’s biggest mall. To my surprise, it was an extremely large showroom for a footwear brand and housed a lot of variety for men, women and kids at different price points; this wasn’t the case some years ago. The brand was largely known for its quality and sturdiness — shoes that would last long but weren’t stylish. It was perceived as a mass-market product that lacked innovation. There was little effort towards brand- and portfolio-building, with the focus directed towards labour issues and cost management. So, rubber and plastic footwear comprised a chunk of Bata’s sales. The swanky 20,000 sq ft showroom is thus an indication of how things have changed.
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