Decathlon Story: The tagline itself—‘Sport for all, all for sport’— says a lot about Decathlon. 

Chances are, you’ve stepped into their store, purchased a product, or at least heard about them. If not, it’s worth a shot!

Decathlon hooks you up with affordable, quality sports gear, making it a great alternative to Nike, Puma, Reebok, Sketchers, or other costly sports brands.

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It offers products for 85 different sports disciplines and is larger than Adidas, Nike, and Asics all put together in India.

So, what is Decathlon?

For those not familiar, Decathlon is one such brand that has made sports accessible to even the common man of India over the past few decades. It’s like the go-to place for all your sports needs, kind of like how IKEA is for home needs.

Founded in 1976 (around 47 years ago), this French sporting goods retailer has been making sports accessible to everyone. They’ve got everything, from fitness to skiing, cycling, running, trekking, and more outdoor games products.

It sources nearly 8% of its global requirement from India across sporting goods.

How did Decathlon kick off in India?

Well, the story began in 2009. That year, it came as a cash-and-carry format and wholesale store in Bangalore. However, it wasn’t until 2013 that it got the green light for single-brand retailing and switched its business model from wholesale to retail.

But even before that, Decathlon made its entry in India in 1999 with an official opening of production in India, and in 2004, footwear and heavy stitching exports began.

In 2012, over 90% of the cycles sold by Decathlon in India were Made-In-India, and by 2014, the company had 12 Decathlon stores.

It was in 2019 when Decathlon stepped up its game and introduced 720 new products, opened 10 new suppliers, and started manufacturing most of their flip-flops right here in India.

Recently, they just opened their 6th store in Chennai, showcasing 3700+ styles of sports clothing and gear for both genders.

How about their sales and presence in 2023?

Decathlon India sales jumped 37% to almost Rs. 4000 crore in FY23, all thanks to the crazy demand for fitness wear and sports equipment. Despite a Rs. 18.5 crore loss this financial year, their growth in India has been constant.

And talking about the dip in Decathlon’s operating margin last year, the major reason was an increase in non-COGS (cost of goods sold) and non-wage operating costs, including the cost of marketing expenses, sales, transport, and store operations.

Beyond its strong online presence, Decathlon has 100+ stores across 19 states and 110 factories in India. It covers 85 different categories, and its pricing is about 30–40% lower than its rivals.

Decathlon believes there’s still a lot of untapped potential in their market, and they’re on a mission to make 80% of their products in India by 2025.

Decathlon (a French company) really understands the needs of Indian consumers when it comes to sports. So, if you’re into sports, Decathlon’s got your back! 

So, have you ever tried any of the products from Decathlon?

Written By Shivani Singh

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