Decathlon is a massive French owned global retailer of sporting goods. They have over 1,500 stores across 55 countries and global sales were $17.7 billion dollars in 2017.
Since Decathlon opened their first Australian store in Sydney two years ago, they’ve since opened another four, with another planned for 2020 along the way to their goal of 35 stores across Australia.
Most relevant to Australia’s bicycle industry, Decathlon is the world’s largest retailer of bicycles. Exact break out figures are not provided, but industry experts in the past have estimated sales of up to three million bicycles worldwide per year. So that represents some serious buying power.
Decathlon’s strategy is to create their own house brands, so you won’t see a Decathlon branded bike on the roads or trails of Australia, but rather a Btwin or a Rockrider.
Most of their bikes are sold through vast, brick and mortar stores.
Currently only eight percent of Decathlon’s sales in Australia are online, but they expect this to grow to 20% over time, in line with some of their others stores overseas.
Decathlon has also launched in the USA where they’re trialling a robot in the bicycle department of their San Francisco store that can move around the store, scan product codes and even ‘break the ice’ with customers.
Following on from our recent visits to Kmart and Anaconda stores, The Latz Report recently visited the second of Decathlon’s Sydney based stores.
The store is located at 300 Paramatta Road Auburn. This is the heart of a huge bulky goods precinct that includes all the well-known furniture, electrical and homemaker stores. It’s certainly not an attractive setting, on a busy road, with lots of concrete, car parks and hardly a blade of grass or tree to be seen. But in terms of access, being right next to the M4 motorway, it’s a prime location to attract customers from all over western Sydney.
Our visit was on a late Monday afternoon and in terms of floor traffic, the store was almost dead with hardly a customer to be seen and one checkout operator able to handle the entire vast store of perhaps 5,000 square metres or more. Decathlon is open for long hours: 9am to 10pm every week day and 8am to10pm Saturdays and Sundays, making 93 hours per week in total.
The bicycle department was immediately to the right of the front entrance, facing the main central aisle. It consisted of four main aisles a workshop and storage area, totalling perhaps 400 square metres, which would make it larger than about 90% of bike shops and certainly larger than the bike section of a Kmart or other department stores.
In total I counted 101 bikes on display composed of 21 MTB, eight drop bar road, 10 flatbar or hybrid, two folding two ebikes and 58 juvenile bikes. There were at least another hundred and probably closer to two hundred bikes in the storage area and more cluttering the workshop, waiting to be built.
There was not a staff member to be seen in either the workshop or bike department shop floor and no-one approached from another section during our visit.