Sporting goods giant Decathlon is coming to Australia in a bid to shake-up the local market.
While an exact date has yet to be pinned down, along with the location of its first bricks-and-mortar store, the French retail giant previously told customers they can expect to buy products from its Australian-facing website by the end of this month.
The emergence of an international sporting giant could be a game-changer for local sporting goods retailers Rebel Sports and Amart, which have otherwise enjoyed little competition.
Here are four things you need to know about Decathlon.
1. It’s the world’s biggest sports retailer
Decathlon is the biggest sporting goods retailer in the world, turning over more than 8 billion euros ($11.8 billion) after tax last year.
Thirty-five percent of the retailer’s turnover came from 300 stores located in France, while the bulk of its revenue – 65% – came from around 800 overseas outlets.
Outside of France, Decathlon is most popular in China. The retailer has 158 stores in the Republic of China, as well as eight stores in Taiwan.
Spain, meanwhile, is home to 133 Decathlon stores while Italy is home to 106.
Overall, the retail giant employs more than 70,000 people worldwide, up from 63,000 in 2014.
2. It’s enthusiastic about customer service
Decathlon takes its approach to customer service very seriously.
In fact, it calls its customer service staff “customer happiness officers”.
Decathlon’s motto is to “make the pleasure and benefits of sport accessible to all”.
The retail giant is also quick to respond to customer queries on Facebook, and not afraid to engage in light-hearted banter.
3. It will drive competition in the local retail market
The sporting and camping equipment retail market in Australia is worth around $4 billion in Australia, according to IBIS World.
Local heavyweights Rebel Sports and Amart Sports are owned by the same parent company, Super Retail Group, and have so far enjoyed little competition from international players.
Decathlon also takes innovation very seriously, employing 550 engineers and 180 designers.
On average, the retail giant designs 2800 products every year and files for hundreds of patents all over the world.
4. It hopes to expand quickly Down Under
Decathlon has already identified six locations suitable for bricks-and-mortar stores in Sydney and Melbourne, according to Fairfax.
Decathlon is renowned for its large, warehouse-style stores: think of retail heavyweights like IKEA and Bunnings.
However, the sporting goods giant is taking an online-first approach to launching in Australia, meaning people outside Sydney and Melbourne will be able to purchase cheap bikes, soccer balls and sporting apparel online from Decathlon in the coming weeks.