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How investment in ecommerce and the supply chain left Decathlon UK well-placed for Covid-19

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Decathlon UK today showed how is investing in its ecommerce and supply chain as it continues to meet strong online demand. The sports clothing and equipment retailer has recently introduced new solutions including delivery from store and fast local deliveries.

The investments follow a 2019 financial year in which it had already invested in new ecommerce solutions and supply chain infrastructure in order to strengthen its multichannel approach to selling. During the year, the retailer spent £4.3m on expanding its ecommerce and warehouse provision as well as opening a new store in Ealing Broadway. It has gone on to introduce a new ecommerce platform as well as further supply chain infrastructure and next year plans to open four new shops. Sales grew by 10% in 2019 but the retailer today said it expected to make a pre-tax loss of £7.5m as result of its investment. That investment, however, has meant that Decathlon was well placed to respond with convenient multichannel services when Covid-19 hit. It now expects to return to profit in its 2020 financial year.

Alberto Bottan, chief financial officer and property director at Decathlon UK, said: “Online has continued to grow strongly (+18.2%) and we keep investing heavily in ecommerce and warehousing to help fulfil growing online demand.

“There are three elements to highlight looking forward: first of all we are very proud to have fully preserved employment during this terrible period; secondly we observe a strong acceleration in terms of urban mobility and fitness categories, where we can offer some amazing products to our customers; finally we are increasing our omni-channel capacities through innovative solutions like delivery from store or very fast, local deliveries.” 

He added: “Last year’s results show a trading period where turnover has strongly improved. And even if 2020 remains a very complicated year due to the Covid impact on retail, we are very confident in our ongoing performances and we aim to achieve profitability by the end of the year.

“We have invested over £200,000 in the training and development of our teams, that are at the heart of our expansion strategy. The teammates are well trained and skilled in our culture, products and the sports in which we operate. Truly, they are a major asset for us.”

Decathlon UK is a Top100 retailer in RXUK Top500 research, while the wider Decathlon group is an Elite retailer in RXEU Top1000 research. The Decathlon Group, which trades in 57 countries, has reported net sales of €12.4bn for 2019. Decathlon UK opened in 1999. 

Find out more about Decathlon UK’s multichannel strategy in the extended case study in RXEU Top1000 Europe 2020 report

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