Bata Shoe (Singapore) Pte Ltd



Bata Shoe (Singapore) Pte Ltd is a member of the worldwide organisation, Bata International.1 One of the earliest modern shoe sellers in Singapore, Bata opened its first store, Bata Shoe Store, at the Capitol Building in 1931. Today, Bata Shoe (Singapore) Pte Ltd operates a number of retail outlets locally.2

History
Bata

Tomas Bata, born into a family of shoemakers in 1876, laid the foundation of Bata Shoe Organisation in Zlin, Czechoslovakia, in 1894 at the age of 18. A pioneer in the modern shoemaking industry, he established a network of stores or sales organisations in many parts of the world before his death in 1932.3 By 1939, Bata Shoe had established its presence in more than 30 countries.4 To arrive at his success, Tomas Bata first harnessed together an efficient production, distribution and marketing system to establish his company. The Zlin team devised a system known as the “Bata System”, which organised operations into autonomous workshops and departments. This also allowed employees to contribute ideas and stimulate production resulting in many breakthroughs in footwear technology. It was later applied to all other Bata companies.5

A philanthropist given to the cause of building schools, hospitals, and homes,6 Tomas Bata provided employment and footwear by establishing factories in developing countries where people walked barefoot.7 The organisation was later taken over by his son, Thomas J. Bata, and is today managed by Thomas J. Bata’s son Thomas G. Bata as the chairman.8 The Bata Shoe Organisation functions as a decentralised manufacturing and marketing operation; as of 2008, it has more than 4,900 retail stores in over 70 countries.9 Its corporate headquarters has been based in Toronto, Canada, since 1940 after Thomas J. Bata and his family moved to Canada.10

Bata Singapore
In 1931, Bata Shoe Organisation was officially incorporated in Singapore and opened their first shoe store with a retail outlet in the Capitol Building on Stamford Road that same year.11 In 1951, Bata Shoe (Singapore) Pte Ltd opened the Bata Building on North Bridge Road next to the Capitol Building, which became a prominent landmark in that area. The building not only housed the store but also the factory and the offices.12 As one of the early affordable modern footwear shops in Singapore, Bata became a huge success. The Japanese Occupation years (1942–45) saw the company suffer heavy losses with the Bata factory being completely destroyed. However, Bata resumed business on 2 January 1946 soon after the war.13

In 1964, a modern Bata factory was constructed at No. 66, Telok Blangah Road. At the same time, Bata retail outlets in Singapore gradually expanded to various parts of the island. The main Bata store at Bata Building was renovated, and when the store reopened on 3 November 1966, the outlet was the only store in Singapore with an escalator for customers to access the two shop floors. The first Bata store in a housing estate was also opened in 1966 at Margaret Drive.14

In 1979, the Bata Building had to be demolished to pave way for the construction of the Peninsula Plaza Shopping and Office Complex. However, Bata continues to occupy a portion of the Peninsula Plaza Shopping Complex.15 The escalator feature, too, is still present in this shop. The shop was refurbished and reopened in September 2003. That year also saw Bata opening a new city store at Plaza Singapura featuring non-footwear merchandise including shirts, bags and sunglasses,16 and the number of Bata stores in Singapore reached 47.17

Today, Singapore is home to the Bata Asia Pacific and Africa operations for Bata Shoe Organisation.18 Bata is most popular for its school shoes, of which it sells about 650,000 pairs each year.19 The company has assimilated into Singapore so well that many people tend to think that it is a homegrown organisation, not a multinational one.20



Author

Naidu Ratnala Thulaja



References
1. Bata Brands. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2016, March 18 from Bata website: https://www.bata.com/about/
2. Bata Singapore Ltd. (2015). About Bata. Retrieved 2016, March 18 from Bata website: http://www.bata.com.sg/pages/About-Us/pgid-1079258.aspx
3. Bata Singapore Ltd. (2015). About Bata. Retrieved 2016, March 18 from Bata website: http://www.bata.com.sg/pages/About-Us/pgid-1079258.aspx; Long, S. (1998, June 14). The whole world’s in his shoes. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
4. Bata Brands. (2016). Bata’s golden age. Retrieved 2016, March 24 from Bata website: https://www.bata.com/heritage/batas-golden-age/
5. The Thomas Bata Foundation. (2016). Bata’s history. Retrieved 2016, March 21 from The Thomas Bata Foundation website: http://www.batova-vila.cz/en/batas-history/
6. Telegraph Media Group Limited. (2008, September 4). Obituaries: Thomas J Bata. (2008, September 4). Retrieved 2016, March 21 from The Telegraph website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/2684357/Thomas-J-Bata.html
7. Bata, T. J., & Sinclair, S. (1990). Bata: Shoemaker to the world. Stoddart Publishing Co. Limited, pp. 225–226. Retrieved 2016, March 21 from Google Books website: https://books.google.com.sg/books?id=5FwrNew3nm8C&pg=PA8&dq
8. Telegraph Media Group Limited. (2008, September 4). Thomas J Bata. Retrieved 2016, March 21 from The Telegraph website: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/2684357/Thomas-J-Bata.html
9. Bata Brands. (2016). About us. Retrieved 2016, March 23 from Bata website: https://www.bata.com/about/
10. The Thomas Bata Foundation. (2016). Bata’s history. Retrieved 2016, March 23 from The Thomas Bata Foundation website: http://www.batova-vila.cz/en/batas-history/
11. Bata Singapore Ltd. (2015). About Bata. Retrieved 2016, March 24 from Bata website: http://www.bata.com.sg/pages/About-Us/pgid-1079258.aspx
12. It’s a shoe-in. (2003, September 14). The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Smetanka, T. (2015, August 8). Stepping into Bata’s shoes. The Straits Times. Retrieved from Factiva via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg/ 
14. It’s a shoe-in. (2003, September 14). The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
15. It’s a shoe-in. (2003, September 14). The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
16. It’s a shoe-in. (2003, September 14). The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
17. Seah, L. (2003, September 14). Bata trade. The Straits Times, p. L6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
18. Bata Singapore Ltd. (2015). About Bata. Retrieved 2016, March 24 from Bata website: http://www.bata.com.sg/pages/About-Us/pgid-1079258.aspx
19. Bata Brands. (2016). Bata in the news: Singapore in the limelight. Retrieved 2016, March 24 from Bata website: http://world.bata.com/news/2015/bata-news-singapore-limelight/
20. Bata Singapore Ltd. (2015). About Bata. Retrieved 2016, March 24 from Bata website: http://www.bata.com.sg/pages/About-Us/pgid-1079258.aspx; Long, S. (1998, June 14). The whole world’s in his shoes. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources
Asian franchise market ‘set to take off’. (1993, October 14). The Straits Times, p. 36. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Bata going private with name change. (1994, March 19). The Straits Times, p. 47. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Labour shortage seen hitting Bata’s short-term profitability. (1993, January 8). The Business Times, p. 10. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Seow, S. (1992, August 6). Canada-based Bata Shoe seeking SES mainboard listing. The Straits Times, p. 40. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Wee, T. (2003, February 24). Baring our soles. The Straits Times, p. 6. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



The information in this article is valid as at 2016 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Trade and industry
Business, finance and industry>>Business organization>>Business enterprises
Commerce and Industry>>Industries
Business, finance and industry>>Industry>>Services>>Retail and wholesale
Footwear industry--Singapore
Business enterprises--Singapore
Bata Shoe (Singapore)