French sports retailer is planning to grow its UK presence in a big way, as it has in mainland Europe

Decathlon plots 100 stores and 30 ‘Sports Villages’

On the day that Decathlon opened its 13th store in Coventry – next door to the Ricoh Arena – the retailer revealed to BikeBiz that it is not only planning to open 100 UK Decathlon stores in the next decade, but also 30 Oxylane Villages.

The villages would include acres of space dedicated to multiple sports, as well as a Decathlon sports store. Customers would be able to try out kit and products – including bicycles – in the village prior to purchase.

Decathlon is currently submitting planning application for the first of many ‘Villages’ in Broxtowe, Nottinghamshire including cycle facilities, tennis courts, football centre and more – reflecting Decathlon’s ‘Gateway to Sport’ mantra. The public will be able to try out new sports in the villages, from BMX to volleyball, and develop a taste for them in the purpose-built environments.

UK Oxylane Village director Luke Fillingham told BikeBiz: “The villages go above and beyond the stores.

“They will provide a safe, managed environment ideal for people trying out new sports, including cycling. It’s better than borrowing a bike from next door that has a flat tyre and no brakes. Here you can ride a brand new bike and hopefully that’ll be a great experience and hopefully that will lead to the customer buying a bike and then getting involved in the cycling community – it’s about a change in lifestyle and an on-going involvement in these activities.”

Marketing director John Butcher confirmed that the UK store target of 100 was a genuine objective for Decathlon.

“Whether we’ll reach the 100 stores target within that time frame is less important than the growth.

“We’ve opened nine stores in three years, which is a vast increase on the amount we’ve opened previously.

“The market was saturated four or five years ago in the UK. Now the number of players has reduced and the market is no longer over inflated. Our aims are possible.”

Butcher did, however, rule out rumours that Decathlon was planning to take on ex-JJB Sports stores since the firm went into administration. 

“We’re a unique offering, with 70 sports under one roof. Cycling is core to Decathlon,” Butcher added. “We have a cycle section in every Decathlon store.”

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