Fewer private brands, smaller stores, digitisation, sustainability and franchising: these are some of the strategies in Decathlon‘s new five-year plan. Cost savings are also on the cards.
Since Barbara Martin Coppola took over as CEO in January last year, a new wind has been blowing at Decathlon. Using her experience at international companies such as Ikea, Google, YouTube and Samsung, Coppola is going for a thorough transformation of the successful retail company. The fact that when she took office, she instituted English as the working language for meetings and internal communication – to the dismay of some (French) employees – is just a detail. A new five-year strategic plan should ensure Decathlon’s future resilience in an increasingly competitive market, French business magazine Challenges reports.
Although the sports retailer has had an excellent 2022, with turnover growing 12 % to 15 billion euros, concerns about this year’s results are growing. Decathlon noticed a growth slowdown in the spring and is taking precautions to monitor profitability. Two unprofitable French shops will close, there will be a restriction on recruitment and training, air conditioning in shops will be set at 26 ° and 600 jobs are said to be at risk. To improve profitability, Decathlon is also thinking of downsizing its large stores. The vacated surface area would be sublet. Another avenue of thought is franchising operations in some less strategic countries, such as New Zealand or the Republic of Congo.
Fewer private labels
One of the most notable interventions in the plan is to sharply reduce the number of private brands. Of the current 49, Decathlon wants to keep 12 strong ones: Btwin, Caperlan, Decathlon, Domyos, Inesis, Kiprun, Kipsta, Quechua, Simond, Solognac, Tribord and Van Rysel. By focusing investments on a more limited number of brands, the retailer can improve brand awareness, make the range easier to read for consumers, and increase efficiency within the organisation. Furthermore, Decathlon intends to focus more strongly on four growing sectors: hiking, soft mobility, fitness and wellness.
Sustainability is also an important chapter in the strategic plan: by 2026, the ecological footprint should be 20 % lower, by 2050 the company will be fully carbon neutral. Decathlon is therefore committed to circularity and expects a lot from a subscription concept, which is currently being successfully tested in Belgium: customers in Antwerp and Liège can rent equipment and clothing in all sports via a monthly subscription.