With 185 store openings around international markets, Decathlon raised its turnover by 11 percent to roughly €11 billion excluding sales taxes last year, with a sales increase on a comparable store basis of 4 percent.

The performance can be compared with the currency-neutral sales rise of 3.8 percent already reported for retailers affiliated with Intersport. Their sales reached about €11.5 billion including sales taxes, an increase of 3.3 percent in euros.

The big French-based retailer ended the year with 1,352 stores in 39 countries, after moving into ten more countries in 2017. The year was marked by Decathlon's return to the U.S. with an opening in San Francisco, and its move into Australia with a store in Sydney. It filled a gap in the European market with the opening of a store in Switzerland, in Neuchâtel. Decathlon moved into three more African markets - South Africa, Ghana and Tunisia - and into two new Asian countries, Indonesia and the Philippines. The two other markets were Israel and Colombia.

Decathlon continued to grow most rapidly in China, where it added 52 stores to end the year with a network of 266 stores. It moved ahead fast in India, where it ended up with 60 stores, up from 46 at the end of 2016.

But at the same time, Decathlon continued to expand in mature markets, opening another 15 stores to end with 164 in Spain. Eleven stores were added in the U.K., where Decathlon is starting to gain traction with 37 stores. The same could be said in Germany, where Decathlon opened 14 stores during the year to end with 50 outlets.

France remains easily the largest market for Decathlon, with a turnover of €3.4 billion in 2017. Sales in the country rose by 3 percent, adding a same-store increase of 1 percent and nine store openings, which expanded the network to 310 doors.

Decathlon
Number of own shops in 2017

 

End
2017

Net
Openings

France

310

9

China

266

52

Spain

164

15

Italy

118

5

India

60

14

Russia

54

5

Germany

50

14

Poland

48

2

United Kingdom

37

11

Portugal

33

3

Belgium

29

2

Turkey

25

5

Brazil

23

2

Hungary

23

2

Romania

22

3

Czech Republic

14

3

The Netherlands

12

2

Morocco

10

4

Thailand

9

0

Croatia

6

2

Mexico

6

3

Slovakia

6

2

Bulgaria

5

1

Singapore

3

1

Slovenia

3

2

Sweden

3

1

Malaysia

2

1

Australia

1

1

Colombia

1

1

Ivory Coast

1

0

Ghana

1

1

Indonesia

1

1

Israel

1

1

Philippines

1

1

South Africa

1

1

Switzerland

1

1

Tunisia

1

1

USA

1

1

T O T A L

1,352

175

Among the development trends in the last months were the diversification of the store formats operated by Decathlon and partnerships with other retailers. The company opened many Decathlon City stores to raise its exposure in city centers and to support the expansion of its omni-channel business model, allowing for deliveries in central urban locations. The group said its online sales grew to make up about 4.5 percent of its turnover.

While it teamed up with Kant to provide branded winter sports products in Russia, Decathlon more recently created a partnership with Athleticum, the Swiss sports retailer. As previously reported, the Athleticum store in the Meyrin area of Geneva is to be rebranded as Decathlon, and a spokeswoman said that this pilot may be expanded to all 23 Athleticum stores.

The French sports retailer is preparing to fill another European gap this year in Austria. Kurier reported a few days ago that the French retailer has set its sights on a location at the Shopping City Süd in Vösendorf near Vienna, and on two others in the north part of Vienna and in Innsbruck. The report adds that the Austrian operation appears to be steered from Hungary, where the retailer has been operating for several years.

Other countries where Decathlon has been working on store openings include Ireland, Chile and Kenya. The company is already active in several other countries, such as Japan and Egypt. On the other hand, Decathlon's dedicated online stores for Denmark, Norway and Finland are no longer active. A notice on all three of them says that the retailer's goal to make sports accessible for the many in these three countries “has been postponed” but it hopes to return at the earliest opportunity.

Decathlon described 2017 as a year of transformation as it invested on its multi-channel strategy as well as on its commitment to environmentally-friendly business practices. The French arm of the retailer aims to quit using air freight for transportation of its products, as previously reported, and its buildings are now designed in an environmentally-friendly way.