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India to be among top 5 markets for Decathlon in 5 years

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This move would help Decathlon become more competitive in the fast-growing Indian sports and athleisure segment and increase exports to global markets from its Indian manufacturing facility

By Kumar Rahul

New Delhi: India is a “big priority” market for Decathlon, and the French sports retailer expects the country to be among its top five global markets within the next five years, helped by the expansion of its store network and increased local sourcing, according to a top company official.

Decathlon, as part of its growth plans, will add 10 new stores every year in India, while accelerating online sales and also increasing local sourcing to over 90% in the next five years from the current average of 60%, its Chief Retail & Countries Officer Steve Dykes said.

This move would help Decathlon become more competitive in the fast-growing Indian sports and athleisure segment and increase exports to global markets from its Indian manufacturing facility, he said.

India “is a top priority for us. We have five countries, which we call leapfrog jump countries and one of them is India,” Dykes said while speaking at a Decathlon global event here.

For Decathlon, India is already among the top ten (markets globally in revenue terms). “We wanted to get it into the top five,” Dykes said, adding that this would happen within the next five years.

For the financial year that ended March 31, 2023, Decathlon India’s sales were at Rs 3,995 crore, registering a 37% growth.

“We want a good rhythm of (opening) 10 stores per year. We are really accelerating online at the moment and positioning ourselves digitally because of the convenience element,” he said, adding besides large format stores, Decathlon is also working on small stores in big cities.

These new stores could be smaller stores between 1,000 to 2,000 square meters or could also be large experience stores spread across 4,000 square meters, with a bigger play area and other amenities.

“We have two in Bengaluru at the moment but we feel that in cities like Mumbai and Delhi, we should follow that kind of concept,” he added.

The leading sports retailer also believes it has a role to play by encouraging more people towards sports and creating a market in India.

Decathlon, which competes with leading athleisure brands such as Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Puma and Asics in the Indian market, is currently operating around 100 stores across formats.

Regarding the potential of the Indian market, Dykes said India has a high number of young people in its demography, who are looking at sports as a career option. Moreover, there are some big Indian cities such as Mumbai, whose GDP is expected to be broadly equal to countries like Romania. “We would like to treat these cities like a country,” he said.

Moreover, cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata etc follow different kinds of sports passions. For example, in cities like Hyderabad Badminton is popular, while running is picking up in Delhi. Similarly, Mumbai and Kolkata have different sports passions.

Over domestic sourcing, Dykes said Decathlon plans to increase it to 90 to 95%.

“We put a vision to get there in about five years by 2028,” said Dykes, who earlier led the India business of Decathlon as its CEO there.

The company is increasing its accessibility and working on the value chain with more “sustainable components” for the Indian market, which is price-sensitive.

On Tuesday, Decathlon launched a brand new identity and said it is deploying a new strategy steeped in its new purpose, “Move People Through the Wonders of Sport”.

Speaking at the press meet, Barbara Martin Coppola, Global CEO, Decathlon said, “Anchored to this new purpose, we have created a new strategy to concretely evolve many aspects of our business. This includes recreating our customer experience, accelerating the movement towards sustainability, and modernising our company end-to-end.”

She added that the brand structure is also evolving to reflect its new identity as a global, multi-specialist sports brand.

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