French Sports Retailer Decathlon Opens its First Store in Kenya as Company Makes Plans for Continental Expansion

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Decathlon, a leading global sports retail firm has announced plans to enter the Kenyan market in coming months as part of its continental expansion plan.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of recent store openings in Ghana and South Africa earlier this year.

Decathlon, a France-based dedicated sports equipment manufacturer with 1,267 stores in 35 countries globally, confirmed that plans are underway to establish its first East African store at The Hub Karen mall in Kenya next year.

The entry of Decathlon in the local market will serve to further enhance Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) flows in the local formal retail market by French companies.

Established in France in 1976, Decathlon currently operates in more than 35 countries globally with turnovers in excess of 10 billion euro. Last year, with more than 300 stores in its home market of France, the company generated turnovers in excess of 3.3 billion Euros ($3.88 billion) with its international business generating more than 6.7 billion Euros ($7.88 billion) from its operations in Brazil, Mexico, China, Russia, India and Europe among other regions.

According to Decathlon Nairobi Project Leader, Valéry Guers, the firm has completed lease negotiations with The Hub Karen management and is now set to embark on a 1,500 square metre store fit out. Once concluded, Decathlon, popularly known in the local scene for its Kalenji brand, said it will be setting out to develop a Sports Goods Mega Store appropriately stocked with a choice of 36,000 store keeping units (SKUs) and equipment covering over 70 sports.

“Kenya presents a unique market opportunity for us at Decathlon given its global renowned athletic prowess and general formal retail advancements. This fits in very well with our corporate mission to innovate and to remain the main playing partner of all sportsmen,” Guers added.

The entry of Decathlon in the local market and at The Hub Karen, Cauviere said, will further serve to deepen Kenya’s formal retail market as international retailers continue to explore local opportunities. At The Hub Karen, leading lifestyle brands including Turkish clothing firm LC Waikiki and South Africa’s Woolworths have recently set up shop joining a prestigious list of retailers including French retailer Carrefour.

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