Decathlon ups its game in US with first full-scale store
Decathlon has doubled down on its expansion efforts in the United States. The sporting goods retailer has just opened its first full-scale store in the sizeable market where it is currently making a comeback, having made an initial incursion into the country from 1996 to 2006.
Opened on April 12 in Emeryville, California – just across the bay from San Francisco – the 47,000-square-foot store joins the likes of Ikea, Target and Best Buy at the commercial development chosen as its location. It also joins the retailer's first experimental address in the country, opened in central San Francisco in December 2017. This 8,300-square-foot "lab store" was launched to scope out the potential of the local market with products related to some of the most popular sporting activities, such as running, cycling, hiking and sailing.
The new supersized Emeryville store, on the other hand, has enough space to host all of the product categories sold by the retailer, and will also allow customers to test out a number of new services being offered by the French chain. "With the launch of our new store, we’ll be able to introduce gear for kids for the first time," explained Sophie O’Kelly de Gallagh, chief operating officer of Decathlon USA, in a release.
A range of spaces have been set aside for customers to test out products in the store, which is being billed as an "experiential center" that will also offer sports classes. When it comes to completing purchases, customers don't need to line up at a checkout, as they can use RFID to pay at a terminal via an iPhone or Apple Watch.
Ever cautious, Decathlon has not revealed details concerning its further expansion plans in the country but it seems likely that the company will continue to develop its presence on the West Coast before attempting a more wide-reaching approach. The retailer has also set up an e-commerce site, initially limited to California, which allows shoppers to take advantage of services such as click and collect, and in-store returns of online purchases.
In 2018, Decathlon reported a 5% increase in its sales, which totaled 11.3 billion euros. This growth was led by the company's international expansion, as revenues actually fell 5% on the chain's home market. Decathlon entered 12 new countries last year, most notably Canada, Egypt, Cambodia and Greece, and has ten new markets in its sights for 2019. So far this year, the company has already made its brick-and-mortar debut in Japan and Ukraine, and will arrive in Algeria in the next few weeks.
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