Decathlon opens first store in SL tomorrow

Friday, 12 October 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


  • French sportswear giant commits to convert Sri Lankans to adopt healthy lifestyles via fitness, sports
  • Unique sport store concept showcases 2,500 products catering to 50 sports, free access playground for football, multisport and 4 indoor experience zones
  • Decathlon employs 20,000 from 15 suppliers in 18 factories in SL

By Charumini de Silva

French sportswear giant Decathlon will unveil its first store in Battaramulla tomorrow, opening up a whole new world of sports innovation for Sri Lanka, elaborating on its commitment to convert people to adopt healthy lifestyles through fitness and sports.

Demonstrating its passion for sports, global sporting retailer, Decathlon offers a unique sport store concept that showcases 2,500 products catering to 50 sports, coupled with a distinctive and personalised customer service. 

Reiterating its commitment to convert Sri Lankan people to adopt healthy lifestyles through fitness and sports, Decathlon Sri Lanka Country Leader Etienne Mafart said they were thrilled to make Decathlon a part of the city’s sport ecosystem.

“We are all delighted sportspeople who have turned our passion into our job, which is to make sport accessible for many. For four decades now, Decathlon’s teams have accompanied, facilitated and even revolutionised the practice of athletes around the world. At Decathlon, innovation holds a primordial place both in our stores and in our products. Behind each product, there is an idea, an expectation, an intuition emanating from an athlete, a sport user or a Decathlon teammate. We see a similar passion for sports amongst Sri Lankans and we hope Decathlon inspires them even more to pursue sports. We are proud to welcome Sri Lanka into Decathlon’s network of 45 countries and 1,414 stores,” he told journalists at an exclusive preview of the store in Battaramulla yesterday.

It was noted that the company already has a decade-long footprint in Sri Lanka, where it has based one of its main manufacturing facilities. After 10 years in Sri Lanka, Decathlon will be manufacturing 45 million products in 2018 with the involvement of its industrial partners. Its factory has 80 associates engaged in production compliance, quality and service. “In Sri Lanka, we have 20,000 employees work for Decathlon, from 15 suppliers in 18 factories. The company has exported 2,600 containers globally in 2018,” Mafart stressed.

Noting that Decathlon is here for long-term, he added that their key challenge was to sustain and make sports more accessible for all Sri Lankans. 

“We are here to stay. Word of mouth still remains a powerful marketing tool. We want to remain simple, provide good value for money and the unprecedented customer service provided by my team will make the brand grow among Sri Lankans,” he said. 

Mafart also emphasised that the company has invested heavily on training 40 young teammates for the store opening in Colombo, to provide a seamless customer experience.

The unique store is located at 260/1, Pannipitiya Road, Battaramulla, prominently located beside the Buddhadasa ground. Decathlon not only provides quality sports gear, but also offers a 500 m2 free access playground for football and multisport; four indoor experience zones (for football, fitness, cycling and trekking); along with 50 sport practices under the same roof and 2,500 products — a true paradise for sports lovers. The store is spread across 1,200 m2 space dedicated for sports to allow shoppers and sports lovers to browse the store at leisure. The store caters to all levels of sports enthusiasts, from beginners to advanced. The store will be open 365 days from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers spacious parking for 100 cars.

Decathlon Store Leader Vatsal Pant said the store boasts a team of 40 passionate sports Iovers engaged in a variety of sports who are truly dedicated to make sports accessible for all in Sri Lanka. “We want all our customers to give a ‘wow’ experience.  Try these products before they purchase. Together, we will inspire Sri Lankans to keep playing sport with a smile,” he added. 

Sharing thoughts on the store opening, Decathlon Sports Leader Sharmila Subramaniam noted that she was proud to be a part of the team, which inspires them to grow in life. “I am super excited about our store opening. I am happy to come to work every day because I love what I do and I am working for my passion. It gives me energy all the time and push myself further. We are happy to serve our customers to make the right choice in their sports products and offer a seamless experience,” she said. 

Sensitive of giving back to society, Decathlon is associated with a host of sustainability initiatives globally. In Sri Lanka, the company is focusing on revealing the potential of young women in Sri Lanka. Commenting on Decathlon’s commitment, Tarana Foundation Founder Member Suranjani Wickremeratne said they were happy to collaborate with Decathlon Sri Lanka on their CSR Project to provide young girls in children’s homes an opportunity to harness and build their personality through an effective sports program. “This will enable these young girls to raise the bar and will strongly support pursuing their life ambitions,” he pointed out.

Decathlon was established in Englos, France, in 1976 and reported a turnover of €11 billion as at end 2017. It is the largest sporting goods retailer in the world.