Decathlon opens its first US mega store on Friday, April 12th, in Emeryville.
Beyond the size of the store (47,000 square feet)… beyond the resemblance to most of its stores -with products that can be tried in self-service mode… beyond the fact that they have with their own branded products with real innovations as always… it is the Decathlon “spirit” that was noticeable for the inauguration of this first large retail store in the United States.
A spirit of celebration after the effort, just like in sport. No matter who you meet in the aisles with a Decathlon branded shirt, you could see a smile of satisfaction. The store is impeccable, products aligned on shelves, nothing is left to chance. They have worked hard and they can be proud.
The teammates as they call employees at Decathlon, are there to inform you, to help you in your choice … and let you test the products.
The move to the USA has not been entrusted to anyone, but to Michel Dhumières CEO of Decathlon USA, a company veteran for 37 years. He knows his business and gets right to the point.
He explains how he approached the market by testing the expectations of the American public for over a year in the San Francisco laboratory store, coupled with their website. How he wanted to adapt what should be adapted within the ranges of products. And he is obviously delighted to mention that the kids offering was added! A must at Decathlon.
You do not necessarily see all these adjustments at first glance. You even have the impression that the products are the same but Dhumières told us that it still took a lot of work to pass the current approvals in the United States.
Pacing the aisles, we also noticed the emphasis on the “durability” aspect of many products. For example, we found lightweight fleece jackets made with 50% recycled materials at $44.99 (as usual, add local taxes), and it’s a good sign.
In all, more than 80 sports are represented to match the sports that are in use in the Bay area.
It is a bold move for this French brand that will have to fight against local retailers well established in the minds of the American audience. As Michel Dhumières tells us “our stakes are to assert our technical characteristics”.
There is no doubt that the community of East Bay is delighted to see Decathlon taking root. Both mayors of Emeryville and Oakland who came for the opening ceremony, did not miss the opportunity to mention their satisfaction. Anything that makes sport accessible to people in order to occupy their free time, is welcome and will benefit the local economy.
Finally, echoing our Consul General of France in San Francisco, Emmanuel Lebrun-Damiens, MerciSF wishes “good luck” to Decathlon USA.
For the record, Decathlon was founded and is headquartered in France and active abroad in over 51 countries with more than 1,511 points of sale.
Decathlon USA – 3938 Horton Street, Emeryville, California 94608
Hours – 9am to 9pm from Monday to Saturday and 9am to 8pm on Sunday