European Sporting Goods retailer ‘Decathlon’ has announced it will be moving into the former Emeryville Toys “R” Us space at the East Bay Bridge Shopping Center. The 47,000 square foot space was acquired by Benderson Development earlier this summer and subsequently leased to Decathlon.
Based in France, Decathlon reentered the US market by opening a 8K square foot “lab store” on Market Street in San Francisco back in April. The retailer previously attempted to enter the U.S. market in 1999 when it acquired 18 MVP Sports stores. They ultimately shuttered these stores and abandoned the U.S. market in 2006.
“We strategically chose to open a smaller-scale store in the [San Francisco] before expanding to this larger [Emeryville] retail center in order to better understand the needs of local sports enthusiasts and develop our interconnected retail and online experience,” said Decathlon USA’s chief executive officer, Michel d’Humières. “Since our launch, we’ve had an enthusiastic response to our store and have developed a thriving relationship with the community, and we’ve decided it’s time to introduce the US to our first full-service Decathlon store environment.”
The Emeryville store will be the U.S.’s first “full-scale” store featuring a full range of products including gear for children and young adults. The Emeryville location will also be an ‘experiential’ retail center by allowing consumers to test products before they buy. The Emeryville Decathlon will also host weekly activities ranging from group runs to yoga classes, and cycling and tennis workshops, among others.
“Our future store in Emeryville will feature over 100 different sports and allow our customers to find everything they need to ‘get in the game’ in one stop, with plenty of opportunities to discover and try out new sports,” added d’Humières. “Through this fun, interactive retail center, we are working to build a community around Decathlon in the Bay Area, similar to what we’ve accomplished abroad.”
A sporting goods store might be a welcome addition to the area which has been without one since Sports Authority closed in 2016. Decathlon designs and manufactures its own brands for each individual sport. Globally, they have over 1,400 stores in 42 countries. The company offers gear in over 100 sports, ranging from cycling, running, and snowboarding, to fishing, basketball and golf.
“At Decathlon, our goal is to reduce the barrier to entry for sports and make sports more accessible to anyone, anywhere by creating real value at true cost,” said Decathlon USA’s chief operations officer, Sophie O’Kelly De Gallagh. “Our current San Francisco store features 50 sports, but this new store will include our entire line of products, over 100 sports, offering every sport and every piece of equipment to our community and helping people of all ages and skill levels to get outside and be active.”
Decathlon also launched a national e-commerce platform making its full range of products available online. Globally, they have over 1,400 stores in 42 countries and are the world’s largest sporting goods retailer.
Decathlon is scheduled to open its doors in spring 2019.