(Representative image)

French sports retailer Decathlon is buying specialist brands to grow its business, taking advantage of a post-pandemic shift in the industry that has made many firms attractive, Chief Executive Officer Barbara Martin Coppola said. The target is made.

Martin Coppola added that the privately-held company, known for its affordable sporting goods, bought German climbing retailer Bergfreunde in January for “hundreds of millions” of euros and a new division to expand into Europe and beyond. Keeping track of goals.

“There are a lot of opportunities in terms of companies that are doing really interesting things but may be in a difficult situation because of the market and demand,” he told Reuters.

A surge in demand for workout apparel and equipment during the Covid pandemic boosted sales, but many brands have been caught with excess inventory as people return to more regular work patterns.

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New brands such as footwear specialists On and Hoka are also challenging established players, as consumers seek specialist products for different sports.

Decathlon is expanding its expertise in sports such as running, road cycling and mountaineering and increasing its marketing spend, including with its first-ever sponsorship of the Paris Olympics.

Its new Decathlon Plus unit will target acquisitions in high-end areas not already covered by the core business.

Martin Coppola, who has been in the role for just over two years, cited fitness as an area of ​​interest, as well as new business models such as second-hand sales and equipment leasing, which are already seeing strong growth in decathlon.

Decathlon, which has 2023 sales of 15.6 billion euros ($16.9 billion) and profits of 931 million euros in more than 70 countries, has revised its strategy, and the number of brands it sells. has been reduced from 80 to 12.

The company has 1,750 stores, with France as its largest market and a significant presence in China.

Decathlon Plus also has 300 million euros to spend on venture capital investments over the next four years. This follows a €400 million investment in 21 firms since 2018, including the purchase of Bergfreunde and French cycling gear specialist Alltricks, as well as other smaller investments.

“Decathlon Plus is a continuation of what was happening but with more means and more acceleration,” said Martin Coppola.

  • Published on 11 July 2024 at 07:18 PM IST.

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