Today, Decathlon hosts its official grand opening event at its U.S. lab store in San Francisco, California. Decathlon, the world's largest sporting goods retailer, operates over 1,350 stores in 39 countries across the globe and is dedicated to making sports accessible to all by creating real value at true cost. The company offers sports lovers of all levels affordable, quality athletic gear in over 50 sports, ranging from cycling, running, and snowboarding, to fishing, basketball and golf.
The first Decathlon store opened in Lille, France in 1976, and began designing and manufacturing its own products 10 years later. Since then, Decathlon has created over 25 brands and continues to expand world-wide as the leading sports store with popular products such as the 2-Second Tent and the Easybreath® Mask, a full face mask designed for snorkeling. This vertical integration allows Decathlon to sell their own brands at prices far below what competing retailers do, while still driving innovation based on feedback from their millions of in-store customers. The company files up to 40 patents per year in developing innovative new products for its owned brands, and employs more than 85,000 people world-wide.
“What really sets Decathlon apart from other sports retailers is how we innovate, design and manufacture our own brands for each individual sport, which we make available direct to our community of sports lovers,” said Decathlon’s chief executive officer, Michel d'Humières. “Each of our products is the result of extensive innovation to ensure the highest quality product at the most affordable price, thereby making sports more accessible to everyone.”
Decathlon Sports has moved into 8,313 square feet on the ground-floor space of 735 Market Street, a building designed by legendary architect Willis Polk and opened in 1908, in the immediate period of recovery after San Francisco’s devastating 1906 earthquake.
Rather than a massive retail launch across the country, Decathlon has chosen to focus on San Francisco. The purpose of this strategy is to allow the brand to become familiar with the practices of local sports fans before a possible expansion throughout the United States.
The company also intends to expand its online presence based on feedback from its early U.S. customers. “Right now, our web presence is available exclusively to California residents,” said Decathlon’s chief operations officer, Sophie O’Kelly De Gallagh. “But that will be rolling out nation-wide in the coming months, because while we are dedicated to a brick and mortar presence here, we also recognize the vast importance of a healthy e-commerce platform.”
d'Humières continued, stating, “Presenting new products and high-value innovations are at the core of our business model. With this San Francisco space, our goal is to discover the best user experience in-store and online for Americans by understanding their needs in order to co-design together and create the best platform.”
The San Francisco lab store does not look like the traditional stores of the brand. It is intended more as a space for reflection, creativity and dialogue between Decathlon designers, customers and athletes. It also serves as a community hub for activities ranging from group runs to workshops and yoga. The retailer is also passionately devoted to the communities in which it operates, and is currently seeking out sports and community groups with which to partner in the local region.
Decathlon stores provide in-store demoing facilities to ensure customers get the most out of their investments and enjoy an enhanced experience by offering maintenance, repair and customization services.
Decathlon, a leading company in the sports market, has two activities: the creation of sports products and its distribution of products online and in stores. Based on an integrated model, Decathlon controls all the stages of its product’s life: from research and development to sales through design, production, and logistics.
Present in France and abroad with more than 1,350 points of sale, the services, brands and store teams have been working since 1976 with a constant ambition: to innovate in all areas to remain the main playing partner of all sports lovers.