Bata was founded back in 1894 in Zlin, Czechoslovakia by Thomas Bata, a 9th generation shoemaker in his family. He invested his savings in some simple shoe making machinery which went on to revolutionize the shoe manufacturing industry at that time. This sparked off a family legacy of well-designed and durable shoes that came with prices that everyone could afford.
Today, Bata spans across the globe with over 6,000 retail stores and 100,000 independent dealers and franchisees. This includes a variety of retail concept stores such as City Stores, Family Stores, Angela Stores and AW Lab Stores. Hence, the trademark ‘’ logo is one of the world’s most familiar sights.
As the world’s largest shoe manufacturer and marketer, Bata is driven by the mission ‘To be successful as the most dynamic, flexible and market responsive worldwide organisation with footwear as its core business’. Bata also owns an International Shoe Innovation Center in Padova, Italy which services 83 of its companies worldwide and several non-Bata companies; by training personnel from basic design to creative skills.
Bata in Malaysia
In 1930, the name Bata was etched in the then Malaya when its first store opened in the Capitol Building, Singapore. It was at that same year that Thomas Bata established the Bata Shoe Company Limited to carry on business as manufacturers, distributors and marketers of footwear; as well as dealers in leather and rubber goods. Five years later, a factory was built in Klang, Selangor to produce quality rubber footwear.
During that period, Bata Malaysia had over 2,200 employees who were tasked to oversee the production, warehouse, sewing and administration department. As the largest shoe factory in the country, it was fully specialised in the production of PVC injected footwear for both domestic and overseas market.
With the drop in shoe production costs in China, Bata made the business savvy move to begin reducing its production in Malaysia. The company also relocated its Head Office from Klang to the urbanized Damansara Perdana in a bid to be closer to the consumers and meet the pressing market demands. Bata Malaysia currently occupies 4 stories of a 20-storey building; aptly named Menara Bata.
Today, the Bata brand in Malaysia has truly come a long way. What used to be a household name for school shoes with the tagline “First to Bata, then to school,” has gone on to serve different segments of the market. This includes other brands such as Marie Claire, Comfit, Power, Bubblegummers, North Star, B-First, and Weinbrenner.
Bata is, undeniably, a leading footwear and marketer in the nation. It operates a retail chain of 233 stores all over the country, consisting of City, Family, Angela, Primavera and AW Lab Stores. Each of the Bata retail stores differs from the other in terms of its merchandises’ range. Bata Malaysia also operates the Wholesale Department which services many independent dealers. With a population of 31 million, Bata Malaysia sells more than 10 million pairs of shoes per year with a turnover of USD100 million.
Armed with over 100 years of history in the shoe business, Bata offers a wide collection of shoes catering to middle to high income group level; from toddlers to children, ladies as well as men. The merchandise mix comprise of diverse collections that are fashionable and trendy for every season. By continuously developing modern shoe technologies, Bata has also mastered the art of producing fresh footwear that marries style with comfort – offering the perfect pair of footwear for people from all walks of life.