Decathlon Canada Launching First-of-its-kind Concept Store at Union Station in the Heart of Toronto [Exclusive]

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Amid a changing retail landscape and accelerated digitization of the world around us, Decathlon Canada is launching a bold new City concept store at Union Station in the heart of Toronto. As part of its continued expansion, the brand’s new location will boast a smaller footprint than its traditional large-format stores, offering a curated experience to satisfy the quickly evolving behaviour of a consumer who’s increasingly seeking ease and convenience in their shopping experience. The concept signifies the first of its kind in Canada. And, according to Julien Duchateau, Ontario Leader for Decathlon Canada, it represents a significant opportunity for the brand to reach more Canadians through a unique and differentiated offering.

“We feel extremely fortunate to be opening a location in the heart of the biggest city in Canada,” says Duchateau. “And we’re excited to be coming with a concept that is a departure from the experience that we offer in our larger flagship stores. It will be a completely unique Decathlon experience, one that will introduce the brand to Torontonians in a really compelling way. And, it allows us to bring sports to our urban customers, engaging with the hyper-local city core, inspiring them to get active and engage with the brand in a whole new way.”

Fast and convenient digital experience

Future Decathlon Canada location at Union Station (Photo by Dustin Fuhs)

The brand’s City concept, opening in Summer 2022 as part of the ongoing transformation and development of Toronto’s Union Station, becomes Decathlon’s twelfth location in Canada and fourth in the Greater Toronto Area, joining locations in Burlington, Vaughan, and the newly opened store in Brampton. Despite its modest 3,500 square feet of real estate, commuters to and locals within the city will be able to access more than 7,000 of the brand’s products, featuring a seasonal rotation of top performing items, representing nearly its entire range of innovative sporting goods across 65 different sports. In addition, the same expert associate advice that Decathlon has become known for through the years will be available in the store. And, as a way by which to keep up with a rapidly changing consumer, the store will also offer same-day click-and-collect. It’s an offering that Jaylone Lee, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer for Decathlon Canada, says is a “distilled version” of the Decathlon experience within a fast, easy and convenient model.

“Decathlon City at Union Station is going to be a jewel box of a store, with all of the essential elements of the brand,” she says. “An all-access approach to sports is a central theme at Decathlon. At our City location, consumers will enjoy a digital experience that’s fast and convenient. We intend to include services like accepted returns from other locations, as well as seasonal services like skate sharpening, ski waxing, and eventually bike tune-ups. In addition, the store will also offer extended hours to suit the action of the area. Like a sports team with a deep line-up, Decathlon is able to offer these services with the support of nearby GTA stores in combination with the dedicated staff at Union Station. The result is a meeting place between Decathlon’s online store, its services, and its retail flagship locations, making this a truly special concept.”

Transformation and development

Image: Decathlon City in Bologna, Italy

Operating more than 1,700 stores in over 60 countries around the world, Decathlon is a globally-renowned retailer whose inclusion in the transformation of Union Station is significant to its ongoing development. The brand is sure to draw foot traffic from its legion of admirers throughout the city as well as from those curious about the concept. Working with the City of Toronto and Osmington, Beauleigh has been the firm responsible for conceptualizing the vision and retail redevelopment strategy for the revitalization of the iconic and historic landmark over the last number of years. And, as Neasha Schlamp, Retail Leasing Manager, Beauleigh, explains, the capture of Decathlon represents a massive accomplishment for the entire project and everyone involved.

“While a large focus at Union Station has been on celebrating the independent operators that help comprise our city’s retail landscape, it’s been equally important to incorporate globally recognized banners into the merchandising mix in order to create an all-encompassing retail environment,” she says. “Decathlon was a major win for the station as it represents a category of retail that is typically only seen in large format stores. However, at Union Station, the ability to offer their entirety of products in just 3,500 square feet through the click-and-collect format will position them as a major player in the sports and lifestyle category within Toronto’s financial core. The ability for same-day pick up also adds an element of convenience that will be unmatched. We’re confident they will become a significant addition to the station.”

Believing in the vision

Decathon City at Union Station facade (Image: Decathlon Canada)

Decathlon, which was represented by commercial real estate advisory firm Oberfeld Snowcap, joins a growing list of other unique and innovative brands that are taking up space and opportunity at Union Station, including the likes of Sephora, Peace Collective, Dresden, Cabin, The Detox Market and an eclectic spread of food and beverage assortment. The addition of the leading sporting goods brand highlights the positive trajectory of tenant acquisition for the project and a sign of Beauleigh’s intent to create a uniquely exceptional mix of retail offering at one of the most frequented areas of the city. And, considering the momentum which the project is consistently building, the transformation and development of Union Station is only just beginning.

“Decathlon is yet another example of a major international player choosing Union Station and believing in the vision,” asserts Jean-Francois Nault, Partner and COO, Beauleigh. “Their inclusion is testimony to the partnership between Beauleigh and Osmington whose teams have both been laser-focused on delivering something unique and compelling to the station. And, there’s so much more to come.”

Uniting under the banner of sports

So much more to come, indeed. When considering similar transformational projects happening across the country, few match the impressiveness of Union Station’s development and the work being executed by Beauleigh and its partners. For Decathlon, the location presents the perfect testing ground for its City concept and, according to Duchateau, an opportunity and unique venue from which to do what it does best: promote an active lifestyle and the exploration and discovery of new sports within an incredible and differentiated brand experience.

“We want to get Torontonians moving through this central hub acting as a point of connection, a place for events, and see where this experience can take them. At Decathlon, we want to make the positive impact of sports accessible to the many, putting it in front of people, right in their path, and invite them to move, or continue to fuel the practice of their favourite sport. Union Station provides us with the perfect access point for our new City store experience, and we look forward to meeting people and bringing the community together to stay active, uniting under the banner of sports.”

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Article Author

Sean Tarry
Sean Tarry
Sean Tarry is an experienced writer who leverages his unique storytelling abilities to bring retail industry news and analysis to life. With 25 years of learning, including over a decade as Editor-In-Chief of Canadian Retailer magazine, he’s equipped with a deep understanding of the unique world of retail and the issues, trends, and innovators that continue to influence its evolution and shape its landscape.

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