French Decathlon has acquired Swiss sports store chain Athleticum from Maus Frères, who in return receive a minority stake in Decathlon Switzerland and an undisclosed fee.
Number three in Switzerland
So far, Decathlon had only one store in Switzerland (and a web shop), but now gets its hands onto 23 Swiss stores. Athleticum is Switzerland's third largest sports chain (behind Ochsner Sport and Migros' SportXX), but is only half as big in turnover as those two bigger rivals, the former owner says.
The acquisitions were a two year long process, even featuring a Decathlon test store in a former Athleticum near Genève. That was a successful pilot, says Decathlon Switzerland's Christian Ollier, and "We hope to repeat this success in other stores". The old name Athleticum would be completely gone by the end of 2019. "We aim to open another thirty stores and double the number of employees", Ollier adds, while announing a price war: "Even though the Swiss have a higher average income than other Europeans, they are not willing to pay just any price for their sporting gear..." To be continued!
Decathlon (just like French supermarket chain Auchan owned by the Mulliez family) is the world's biggest sports chain with a yearly turnover of 11 billion euro, 1300 stores and some 85,000 employees.