Shopping Centers Today International

NOV 2015

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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Decathlon sells 70 percent of all the sporting equipment, apparel and shoes in Europe, despite not having many stores in Western Europe's two big- gest markets: the U.K. and Germany. "Geographically, they're mostly strong in weaker markets," said Renaud Vas- chalde, a sports industry analyst for market research firm NPD Group, which counts Decathlon among its clients in Europe. This means that in France, Italy and Spain the penetration rate probably exceeds 70 percent. Across the English Channel the strength of the Sports Direct chain may be holding Decathlon back, while in Germany Decathlon's store numbers oR ThE FRENCh SPoRTS FAN, FINDING a champion to root for is no easy matter. Consider: The French last won the World Cup in 1998, and one would have to go all the way back to 1985 for a French winner of the Tour de France. In the world of sporting goods, however, it seems France may have a hands-down winner: Villeneuve-d'Ascq–based Decathlon, one of the world's larg- est sporting-goods chains. The roughly 900-store chain generates some €8.2 billion (about $9.2 billion) in after-tax turnover and operates across 22 countries. have been restricted not so much by competitors as by regulators. Special zoning approval is needed for any space over 800 square meters (about 8,600 square feet) — a big barrier indeed, given that Decathlon's big-box format typically runs between 3,000 and 5,000 square meters. Furthermore, no new stores are allowed that are deemed likely to take away more than 10 percent of any ex- isting store's business, according to Se- bastian Mueller, head of retail and real estate consulting at GfK GeoMarketing, in hamburg. For the moment, Decath- lon is contenting itself with incremental gains in each of those two markets. This year the chain opened its first Berlin store (its 24th in Germany), and in the U.K. it now operates 18. Fortunately for Decathlon, Europe seems to matter less and less. These days F on top of their game France's decathlon is a world champ in sporting-goods sales By Bennett Voyles r e t a i l i n g t o d a y 26 S C t / n o v e m b e r 2 0 1 5 P h o t o : R E G I S D U V I G N A U / R E U t E R S / N E w S c o m

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