SHOE company Bata India is expanding its national footprint in tier-I and tier-II cities. The company, which is a subsidiary of Canadian shoe company Bata Shoe Organisation, on Wednesday announced it would open 40 new retail stores across the country in the first-quarter of 2009. These new stores will be based on Bata’s international format and will have an average size of 3,000 sq ft.

The new stores of Bata will be primarily located in tier-I and tier-II cities like Sonepat, Kota, Jodhpur, Ludhiana, Kakinada, Berampur, Mandya, Gangtok, Hassan, Hubli, Ahmednagar, Nasik, and others, apart from the metros. This will help Bata to offer its contemporary and trendy footwear range to potential customers in small towns. These products are currently available in Bata’s international format outlets.

Announcing this, Bata India managing director Macelo Villagran said: “Bata India has opened over 150 new large format stores since 2006 and will continue to open 60 new outlets every year. Our retail expansion plans are aimed at meeting the shoe requirements of our customers across India. We thank our customers for their continued brand loyalty, which has helped us get this recognition from the industry.”

Bata India plans to open 240 new outlets across the country over the next three years with an investment of up to Rs 480 crore. According to the company, the cost of a new outlet would typically vary between Rs 1.5 crore and Rs 2 crore. Further, the company also plans to use the surplus cash for expansion and upgradation of 60 to 80 existing outlets.

Bata is the largest footwear retailer in India with more than 1,200 stores. The company is focusing on manufacturing shoes for defence and paramilitary personnel as well as airlines and hospitals to increase institutional selling.

The Indian footwear market is pegged at roughly Rs 10,000 crore in value terms and is growing at 10% annually.