Decathlon, the popular French sports retailer, has announced its plans to open more stores in the UK within the next year. This decision comes as the company experienced a significant increase in annual sales, with a growth rate of 10.3%. Despite the challenging retail environment caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, Decathlon generated £227.6 million in gross sales in the UK during its most recent financial year, showcasing its strong position in the market.

In order to support its growing operations, Decathlon has invested £4.3 million in various areas, including e-commerce, physical stores, and warehousing. This investment has led to a pre-tax loss of £7.5 million for the company, but Decathlon remains confident in its long-term profitability. Alberto Bottan, the chief financial officer and property director at Decathlon UK, believes that the company will achieve profitability by the end of the year.

Decathlon’s expansion plans involve opening five new stores in cities such as Aberdeen and Leeds. Currently, the brand operates over 40 stores across the UK, with its latest addition being in Ealing Broadway in West London. In addition to physical store expansions, Decathlon has also focused on enhancing its e-commerce platform and supply chain infrastructure to support its growing multichannel operations.

Decathlon attributes its success in 2020 to several factors. Firstly, the company takes pride in maintaining employment levels during the difficult period caused by the pandemic. Secondly, there has been a noticeable increase in the demand for urban mobility and fitness products, and Decathlon offers a wide range of options to cater to this demand. Lastly, the company is actively expanding its omnichannel capabilities through innovative solutions such as store delivery and local, speedy deliveries.

Decathlon’s commitment to growth in the UK market reflects its confidence in the region’s strength and potential. With its diverse range of sporting goods and dedication to excellent customer service, Decathlon is well-positioned to capitalize on the growing demand for sports and fitness products. Despite the challenges faced by the retail industry, Decathlon remains determined to expand its physical and online presence in the UK, providing more opportunities for customers to access its high-quality products. By opening more stores and improving its e-commerce operations, Decathlon aims to solidify its position as one of the leading sports retailers in the UK.

Useful links:
1. Decathlon UK
2. Retail Gazette article on Decathlon’s UK store expansion