Debuting to the public in Emeryville, California, Decathlon opens its doors on a 47,000-square-foot store. It marks the first full-fledged Decathlon location in the U.S. after the brand test launched a smaller “Lab Store” in nearby San Francisco last year.
Decathlon stakes its brand on selling a wide array of outdoor gear — by its count, catering to more than 100 different sports — at steeply discounted prices. It accomplishes this through vertical integration, overseeing R&D, manufacturing, distribution, and sales.
“We strategically chose to open a smaller-scale store in the city before expanding to this larger retail center in order to better understand the needs of local sports enthusiasts and develop our interconnected retail and online experience,” said Michel d’Humières, Decathlon USA CEO.
“Since our launch, we’ve had an enthusiastic response to our store and have developed a thriving relationship with the community, and we’ve decided it’s time to introduce the U.S. to our first full-service Decathlon store environment.”
Decathlon’s first American shoppers will likely encounter aisles of brands they’ve never heard of: Quechua (hiking), Kalenji (running), B’Twin (cycling), and Wed’ze (ski/snowboarding) are just a few of Decathlon’s private brands.
And because it oversees all elements from product design to delivery, a lot of the gear costs half of or less than well-known brands’ comparable products. Additionally, Decathlon says it monitors customer reviews on its website. Any gear that doesn’t maintain at least a 3-star rating loses its spot on the shelf.
The brand also hosts group runs, yoga classes, and other sports clinics, as well as in-store demo opportunities. It all serves to help customers learn and try before they buy.
Currently, Decathlon has only one full location and the smaller Lab Store, both in California. The brand does offer online sales and nationwide shipping across America.
But, the brand told us, it intends to expand to a broader U.S. brick-and-mortar retail market in the future. We haven’t tested Decathlon’s gear yet, so we can’t attest to its quality. But we look forward to trying out the brand’s gear. And if it holds up, we’re happy to see a retailer making it easier to get into a variety of outdoor adventures.