Decathlon surfs fitness wave | WARC

The trend towards health and fitness and the robustness of at least some parts of physical retail is confirmed in new figures from the UK arm of French sports and leisure retailer Decathlon.

In its annual trading update, it reported gross sales were up 10% in the year to December 2019, while online sales rose 18%. Chief financial officer Alberto Bottan acknowledged that the current year has been complicated by COVID-19 but said “we are very confident in our ongoing performances and we aim to achieve profitability by the end of the year”.

He highlighted “a strong acceleration in terms of urban mobility and fitness categories” and added that the retailer has been “increasing our omnichannel capacities through innovative solutions like delivery from store or very fast, local deliveries”.

Decathlon invested in “physical store, e-commerce and warehouse assets” in 2019, “in expectations of growth, both physically and digitally”. That digital

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Covid-19 stokes interest in health and fitness, and sportswear chains such as Lululemon, Decathlon, and Sweaty Betty reap the benefits



a woman holding a football ball: A fitness event sponsored by Decathlon in Hong Kong. The French sportswear chain avoided opening in Hong Kong for years because rents were too high, and only now is expanding as rents fall further amid an exodus of luxury stores from the city.


A fitness event sponsored by Decathlon in Hong Kong. The French sportswear chain avoided opening in Hong Kong for years because rents were too high, and only now is expanding as rents fall further amid an exodus of luxury stores from the city.

When British activewear brand Sweaty Betty opened its first store in Hong Kong in October 2019 – a small boutique in the upscale IFC Mall – the city’s retail industry was in the early stages of what would become one of its worst slumps in history.

Following months of anti-government protests that caused frequent temporary store closures, especially on weekends, and a plunge in arrivals of high-spending visitors from China, Hong Kong’s retail scene had by then been severely impacted.

The start of the coronavirus pandemic in early 2020 and the ensuing global economic downturn that shows no signs of abating have dealt yet another blow to

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