BY SAMSON MBII,NAIROBI,18TH DEC 2017-A leading global sports retail firm has announced plans to enter the Kenyan market in coming months as part of its continental expansion plans.
Coming hot on the heels of recent store openings in Ghana and South Africa earlier this year, Decathlon, a dedicated sports equipment retailer and manufacturer with a French heritage and featuring 1267 stores in 35 countries globally, has confirmed that plans are underway to establish its first East Africa store at The Hub Karen 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 1976, in France, 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, Decathlon generated turnovers in excess of Euro 3.3 billion with its international business generating more than Euro 6.7billion 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 the 1500 square metres (16150 sqft) store fit out. Once concluded, Decathlon, popularly known in the local scene for its Kalenji brand, said 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.
The Decathlon Nairobi Store, Guers said, has been conceptualised as a family destination thus the reason to open at The Hub Karen. Globally recognised for its innovative products and value for money products, the Decathlon Nairobi store will showcase its groundbreaking designs such as Kalenji (running gear), Kipsta (football), Quechua (hiking and camping), Domyos (fitness), Artengo (tennis) and Inesis (golf), among others.
“With the support of the team at The Hub Karen, we are finalizing on our market entry plans for Kenya which remains a key part of our Africa expansion plans,“ Guers said, adding that, “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.“
In store, Decathlon will ensure that our products are available to test and try, so people can get a feel for the product before making the decision to purchase them or not.
To provide a complete sporting experience to customers‘, the store will have multiple zones starting from Sports Experience, Play to Discovery. The multiple-zone concept is based on learning, experiencing and discovering all forms of sports under one roof.
“The vision is to make sports available to every individual by creating an environment that makes sport easily accessible to many,“ said Guers
While confirming the ongoing engagements, The Hub Karen, Chief Executive Officer, Philippe Cauviere said the Lifestyle shopping complex will provide over 1500 square metres (16150 sqft) shop floor space and access to the common use 540 square metres (5810 sqft) of playground/experiential area at the shopping complex.
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.