Bata closes its 29 Swiss stores

Translated by
Nicola Mira
today Apr 21, 2016
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The 29 Swiss stores of specialist footwear retailer Bata will close down. The group made the announcement on Monday, justifying the measure with competition from online sales and the Swiss franc's strength, which encourages local consumers to buy in neighbouring countries.

"The impact of e-commerce, the influx of retailers on the already saturated Swiss footwear market and the change in purchasing habits by Swiss consumers, who buy their shoes in France, Italy and Germany, have prevented the continued operation of Bata stores in Switzerland," the group stated in a press release.

As a result, the group explained that it will proceed to close down its 29 Swiss stores. The measure will affect 175 employees, but it will not concern the group's headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland, where a staff of 30 is operating.

The group stated that the Swiss management has informed the company's employees and put forward a series of solutions, including the possibility of re-employment with other retail businesses for 40 between employees and apprentices.

Bata emphasised that the brand will still be available in Switzerland, through e-commerce. Bata shoes will also be available through other retailers.

The press release does not specify the date on which the Swiss stores will cease trading. According to Swiss trade union Unia, which condemned the "large-scale redundancies", the closing down is planned for "end July."

Bata is one of the world's largest retailers in footwear. The group operates 5,000 stores in over 70 countries, and has a staff of over 30,000 employees.

The Bata stores in France, currently into receivership, will be acquired by a consortium of seven retailers, led notably by Courir and Etam. The news was given last Thursday by a spokesperson of the consortium and of the group's top management.

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