Bata CEO Alexis Nasard Tells CNN Philippines Is “Dream Market”
Bata in the news

On April 5, Group CEO Alexis Nasard was interviewed on CNN Philippines, during his week-long visit to Manila, the capital of Bata Asia Pacific’s newest addition to its growing roster of companies.

Interviewed by CNN’s Claire Celdran, Nasard spoke about Bata’s entry into the Philippines, and the plans the company has in the country, highlighting the positive opportunities for growing the business in the region.

Below are some of the highlights of the interview, which can be viewed in full here on the Bata Philippines Facebook page.

Asked what Bata is most well-known for, Nasard explained: “Bata has been around the world, as I mentioned, for a long time. It is in more than 50 countries. We have 5,300 stores. And the one thing we pride ourselves upon is providing products that people want. That simple.

“You know, fashion and retail follow lots of fads and there are lots of tendencies every one or two years. But there is one thing which is fundamental in our business: the product. That is why our number one strategy is called ‘product is king.’

“In particular, we try to make sexy comfortable and we try to make comfort sexy, which is, as you know, a dilemma that many women have to deal with all the time. ‘Do I look sexy or do I look comfortable?’ And we try to resolve it.”

Discussing the possibilities for the new Bata company in the Philippines, Nasard continued: “The Philippines is a dream market. It’s 103 million people growing more than a half percent per year. Six to seven percent GDP growth. Two-billion-dollar market. Only 2.2 pairs of shoes on average bought by Filipinos every year. You don’t buy enough shoes!

“So we consider it a really, really great opportunity for us here. It has all the fundamentals required and, importantly, our strategy and the state of the Filipino market are quite congruent. In the sense that your median age is 25 years old. You’re in the heart of the millennials. Our target consumer at Bata is a lady called Angela, and she’s also in the bullseye of millennials. We’re really confident that our consumer proposition and the topography of the Filipino market fit very well together.”

Discussing the way Bata continues to evolve to meet consumer needs, Nasard added: "The relationship between consumer and a brand is a little bit like a relationship in a couple. You want to be consistent but you don’t want to be predictable. So we try to be consistent to our values as a company. We try to be consistent to the key tenets of our strategy which importantly includes the product and all components related to it. But we try to be also surprising every once in a while. Surprising in the shoes we offer, surprising in our marketing campaigns.

"Now we are using lots of local celebrities every time we go. We are moving also more and more into the fashion arena. We are launching a global initiative which is called the Bata Fashion Week, which you’ll soon see also in the Philippines."

Speaking about the company’s reason for advocating environmentally conscious shoes, Nasard explained: "We are a very responsible company. We try to do it because it’s part of the values, but also because it’s good business. Nowadays, particularly when we talk about millennials, they value values. They don’t just buy products because of their functional virtues, but they buy products because they represent a set of values that they associate with.

"So we really try to live through that in the way we source our products, in the way we source our raw material, in the way we select our partners, as well as the kind of shoes that we build, in terms of labor practices and all that.

"There is also another component: we try to be responsible citizens in the places where we operate. For example, we have a global program which is called the Bata Children’s Program, where we have a big philanthropic agenda to help education. So far we have a quarter of a million children involved in that program.

"And lastly, let’s not forget that retail employs a lot of people. You know we have 5,300 stores, we have 30,000 employees. It is really quite an intensive source of employment. If, hopefully, we develop in the Philippines like we would like to develop in the next few years, it should be a significant source of employment for people."

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