India's largest footwear retailer, Bata India Ltd, is planning to open 40 new stores in the first quarter of 2009 as it takes its shoes to customers in smaller cities.

The new shops will add to the 1200 it already has in over 400 cities across India, and will be based on the international format for Bata Stores outlined by the Switzerland-based Bata Group.

The new stores will mainly be located in Tier 1 and 2 cities, such as Sonepat, Kota, Jodhpur, Ludhiana, Kakinada, Berampur, Mandya, Gangtok, Hassan, Hubli, Ahmednagar and Nasik.

"Bata India has opened over 150 new large format stores since 2006 and will continue to open 60 new stores every year," said Mr Marcelo Villagran, managing director, Bata India.