Kant, one of the most respected sports retailers in Russia, will soon have its own branded shop-in-shops in one or more Decathlon stores in Moscow and elsewhere in the country, measuring between 600 and 1,000 square meters. This is a first for both retailers, according to Maxim Vinogradov, general director of Kant.

Kant is one of the major sporting goods retailers in Russia, operating 14 stores in the country with a high technical image including a flagship in Moscow that has its own ski ramp. It also has a very active web store. Unlike Decathlon or Sportmaster, which remains by far the largest sporting goods retailer in the country, it relies very little on private label items, which account for less than 10 percent of its sales.

In fact, Kant is also the exclusive distributor in Russia for a number of brands including Elan, Alpina, Salewa, Hamax, Buff, Black Fire, Jones, Now, FTWO, Focus, Rocky Mountain, Kama, Howl, Matt, Romp and Reima. The news about its tie-up with Decathlon has led a few other brands to propose deals with Kant.

In addition to its own stores, which offer these brands and others from suppliers that have their own sales offices in the country, such as Adidas, Amer Sports, Fischer or The North Face, Kant operates a large wholesale distribution network for the brands it represents in the country, servicing some 500 points of sales.  It has been selling only a few products from Hamax and other brands to Decathlon.

While Kant is particularly strong in winter sports products, its shop-in-shops will operate all year long inside the Decathlon stores, offering technical branded products that are generally not sold in the mass-market channel. Vinogradov told SGI Europe that Kant will initially put all its ranges in Decathlon's shelves, including those that it gets from other suppliers, but with time, products will be withdrawn if they show weak demand, while categories that are in a high demand will be expanded.

Kant plans to open at least three shops inside Decathlon's stores, although the current agreement calls for only for one at the moment. In each case, Kant's shopping areas will be fenced off with separate checkout lanes, so it will be clear for the customers that they have entered a different store.

The first shop-in-the-shop will be opened this November in Decathlon's store inside the Zelenograd shopping center of Moscow. Two others are in the planning stages, one at Tyoply Stan in Moscow and the other one in the city of Nizhny Novgorod.

In Tyoply Stan, the Decathlon store is still under construction and should be completed in the summer of 2018, so Kant should be able to move in for the autumn, according to Vinogradov.

The store in Nizhny Novgorod should be opened by Sept. 1, 2018. It will be located in the center of the city, which has a subway and a population of more than one million people. This should allow the two parties to test the new concept outside the capital.

It will be interesting to see whether Decathlon will apply the same concept in other countries.