Decathlon, the French warehouse-style sport discount retailer, is putting down roots in South Africa in the form of a megastore they are building across the way from the Mall at Newmarket in Alberton. This 2 500m2 store is scheduled to open in September 2017.

On July 1st they will open a pop-up store in the the Greenstone Shopping Centre in Edenvale, to replace the Soweto pop-up. “We closed the Soweto pop-up store a couple of weeks ago in order to move to our new pop-up store in Greenstone,” says Decathlon SA Communications Leader Japie Kruger. “The main purpose of this is to move into a bigger space where we can offer a wider range of our products.”

They will not only expand their product offering in this pop-up store, but will also re-open their online store with 3 200 products – instead of the previous 700 – in a few months’ time. Their South African online sales portal has been closed until then.

With more than 1 000 huge stores across 26 countries, Decathlon is considered to be amongst the biggest sport retailers in the world – if not the biggest. Founded in Lille, France, more than 40 years ago, Decathlon stores across the world follow the same formula: huge trading spaces filled with products representing more than 50 sports and outdoor codes, sold at low prices. Their popular Kalenji running shoe, for example, sells for about R199.

This pop-up store at The Mall at Newmarket aims to generate interest in the megastore being built across the way and to recruit staff.

They started testing the South African waters last year when they opened a small 50m2 pop-up store in Soweto in June, only stocking their own brands, which they call Passion Brands. Now they are recruiting staff for their massive store from a container in the parking area of the Mall at Newmarket across the way from the building site. This container also serves to create awareness about Decathlon, the store opening, and their brands.

Internationally, they stock products from a vast number of well-known international brands, in addition to their own Passion Brands covering most sporting codes. In South Africa they will be stocking their own passion brands exclusively, says Kruger. They will therefore not be sourcing from external suppliers.

Since 1990 they have been investing in R&D and research projects conducted by the Decathlon SportsLab into product innovation and consumer needs, often in collaboration with universities and other partners. This has enabled them to register 40 patents per year, states their website.

The Passion Brands own brands, exclusive to Decathlon, are:

  • Aptonia: health and nutrition products
  • Artengo: racket sports (including table tennis and beach tennis) and variations thereof
  • b’Twin: cycling – they claim that they have sold more than 2.7-m bicycles worldwide under this brand name.
  • Caperlan: fishing tackle.
  • Domyos: fitness, dance, gymnastics and combat sports
  • Fouganza: horse riding
  • Geologic: target sports like darts, archery and boules
  • Geonaute: sport electronics
  • Inesis: golf
  • Kalenji: running – for road, track and trail.
  • Kipsta: team sport – covering all codes like soccer, basketball, netball etc.
  • Nabaiji: swimming
  • Newfeel: technical hiking and walking
  • Orao: eyewear
  • Oxelo: skating – roller, board and ice – and scooters
  • Quechua: hiking, camping and Nordic skiing.
  • Simond: mountain climbing
  • Solognac: technical outdoor clothing and accessories, including camouflage
  • Tribord: water sports
  • Wed’ze: snow sports