The global footwear brand Bata, founded in the Czech Republic but headquartered in Switzerland, is to close all 29 of its Swiss shops and switch to an ecommerce-based business model instead.
The Bata Shoe Organisation was founded in 1894 by Czech businessman Tomas Bata and is one of Eastern Europe’s leading footwear brands, with over 300,000 employees, 24 production facilities and 5000 retail outlets in over 70 countries. But it has struggled to keep pace with the changing habits of Swiss shoppers, who are increasingly turning away from single-brand stores.
A press release from the company reads: “Over the last few years…Bata Switzerland has been able to count on the support of its shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders.
Despite its best efforts, however, the impact of e-commerce and fashion retailers entering into an already-crowded Swiss footwear market, plus the shift in buying habits amongst Swiss consumers to shop for footwear and other goods in France, Italy and Germany, has proved too much to maintain Bata stores in Switzerland.”
The closures will result in the loss of around 175 jobs. The company says that it is actively looking for ways to minimise the adverse impact of these job losses on its employees. Stores in the Czech and Slovak Republics, Italy and Spain, as well as its franchise operations elsewhere and its corporate headquarters in Lausanne, will remain unaffected for the time being.
The company is busy developing its online brand at www.bata.com as well as increasing its focus on selling through multi-brand retailers, both in Switzerland itself and in border areas of neighbouring countries, where Swiss shoppers are increasingly visiting on cross-border shopping trips. The company says that it “remains committed to providing its Swiss customers with the quality and value that they have always come to expect from Bata brand products.”