Bata Uganda, a footwear store, has closed its operations in Jinja City where it had maintained a presence and a considerable market share for more than 30 years.
The brand, which is a household name among school-going children and corporates, had for the past two months maintained low stock and sometimes empty shelves at its premises on Main Street.
It is not yet clear if the company will in the near future consider operating a new store. Daily Monitor, could not immediately establish the reasons for closure.
However, in August 2006, Bata closed its factory in Kampala due to inefficient machinery and an unbearable energy crisis, fueling uncertainty about whether it intended to retain presence in the country.
Mr Paul Jacubec, the managing director at that time, confirmed the closure of the manufacturing plant, saying they were now a trading company and not into manufacturing.
The company has since been importing shoes and related products from Kenya, where it has its Africa regional office, and China.
Following the closure of the plant, almost all equipment had been relocated to Nairobi with the company marinating stores and outlets in different parts of the country.
Efforts to get a comment from Bata Uganda were futile as our telephone calls went unanswered and messages were not replied.
By press time, however, local estate brokers had told Daily Monitor that the former Bata shop had been put on the market.
The shoe industry continues to experience a lot of competition from cheap imports, especially from China and the Middle East.
Bata Corporation was once touted as the world’s leading shoemaker by volume, with a retail presence of more than 5,300 shops in more than 70 countries and production facilities in 18 countries.