Value-priced large format French sporting goods retail chain Decathlon has announced that it will expand into North America in the spring of 2018 with a location in suburban Montreal. Decathlon could disrupt the Canadian retail industry if it expands nationally, potentially threatening homegrown retail chains including FGL Sports, SAIL, Sportium, MEC, and even retailers such as Canadian Tire.
Founded in France in 1976, Decathlon Group has more than 1,100 stores in 28 countries, with more than 78,000 employees and revenue of about C$15 billion. It designs, manufactures and distributes a wide range of sports-related equipment and accessories, with over 20 in-house brands dedicated to different sports, and each with its own design team. The company has yet to enter the United States, though it opened a store last year in Mexico.
Decathlon’s first Canadian store will open in the spring of 2018 at Mail Champlain in Brossard, just outside of Montreal. The company made the announcement in french on its newly launched Canadian website, which notes that the company’s Canadian headquarters are at 1 Place Ville Marie, in downtown Montreal.
Mail Champlain could be the first of multiple locations for Decathlon, though the chain will be cautious with its expansion, according to a November 2016 report in La Presse (in French). Oberfeld Snowcap represents Decathlon as brokerage in Canada (Contact: Sylvain Charron) and according to Oberfeld Snowcap’s website, Decathlon is seeking retail spaces in the 35,000 square foot to 45,000 square foot range in commercial centres that may also include power centres as well as freestanding locations.
Decathlon will compete with a wide range of retailers in Canada, given that it carries well-priced sporting goods as well as some related apparel categories. FGL Sports (operating under multiple banners including Sport Chek, Atmosphere and Sports Experts), Sportium, MEC and SAIL could be most affected, and retailers such as Canadian Tire and Walmart, which also carry value-priced sport-related product, could also take a hit if Decathlon takes off in this country. Competition will certainly be present at Mail Champlain, which currently features a combined Sports Experts/Atmosphere space in the mall, spanning about 30,000 square feet. According to Oberfeld Snowcap’s website, Decathlon’s Canadian expansion plans are currently focused within the province of Quebec though given its penetration in other countries, that could be expanded to other regions at some point.
*Thank you Carl Boutet for notifying us of this announcement.
*Top photo: Edward Hands via Wikipedia.