How central England became addicted to the decathlon

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It is also looking to expand one of its existing depots to help Decathlon in its ambition to make the UK its fifth market, from the seventh currently. France and Spain are its biggest markets.

The chain is eyeing more stores in Asda supermarkets as well as smaller pop-ups and sites depending on where customers are.

Several UK retailers, including John Lewis, owner of B&Q Kingfisher and Sainsbury’s, are looking for locations in urban areas and away from city centers to be closer to shoppers.

“We have to recover from Covid, it will be a big fight, but the UK is a totally healthy market,” he adds, and the company enjoys financial support from the group as a whole.

Decathlon’s expansion threatens to usurp the taste of Sports Direct, which has established itself as a valuable retailer in the eyes of buyers, often through general discounts.

Decathlon’s extensive supply chain, like that of Aldi and Lidl, enables it to sell a wide range of good quality products at lower prices.

“We want to have a unique price-performance ratio. It can be middle class, it can also be for people who have less money and just want to play sports.

“What we do, we do with humility”

Mazillier says the company has made a concerted effort not to overspend on marketing, unlike many competitors, and has avoided expensive sponsorship deals to keep costs down. Its other advantage is that it provides the whole kit for more than a dozen sports.

Mazillier no longer believes that retailers should commit to a set number of physical stores or, indeed, store formats, in a post-pandemic world after a major switch to the internet.



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