Global sporting retailer Decathlon has opened a pop-up location at Metropolis at Metrotown – its first store of more to come in British Columbia and other parts of Canada.
Stéphane Marchioni, Vice President of Operations & Real Estate Development for Decathlon Canada, said the pop-up will turn into a permanent location in a bigger store next year.
“We have already defined the plan for next year and the year after because as you can imagine we start negotiations with malls two years before the opening of stores,” he said.
“Next year we plan to open Vancouver Metrotown, the big one, for the first of May and the second one will be Chicoutimi in Quebec which is a smaller city in Quebec because we have already addressed the big cities in Quebec. We have stores in Montreal, we have in Quebec (City).
“In 2025, we will open in Trois Rivieres, the city between Quebec and Montreal, and we will open Sherbrooke also.” And in Edmonton.
Marchioni said there is more room for stores in the country.
“There are provinces we still do not address like Manitoba, Saskatchewan. Winnipeg is probably on the run map for the coming years. Our plan is also to open more stores in Vancouver because we probably need more than three stores as a minimum to be able to correctly address all the Vancouver market,” he said.
“But today we still don’t have any concrete plans but that’s in the run map.”
Currently, the brand operates 19 locations in Canada. Openings this fall have included CF Market Mall in Calgary and Scarborough Town Centre.
The brand has six stores in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area) and Marchioni said there is still room for one or two more stores there.
Marie-Lou Blais, Leader communication / Communications leader for Decathlon Canada, said the brand has a strategy to test markets and then adapt to those markets with their bigger stores.
“This is the first store we have in BC. It’s our first opening in the province,” she said. “Of course, we wanted to be agile and be able to react quickly to the market and adapt to what Canadians are looking for in that region. There might be some adapting to do compared to people in the (Greater Toronto Area) with consumer habits and so on. That’s why we wanted to open this fall with a plan of opening a big store next year.”
Decathlon Canada is represented by real estate advisory firm Oberfeld Snowcap.
Marchioni said the pop-up strategy was also used in the opening of the Scarborough store as a pop-up was in place 12 months before the opening of the permanent store. The strategy was used as well in the Bramalea Town Centre and in Dartmouth.
“It’s something I always negotiate with the landlord. Can we open a pop-up together in a small location in their mall before opening the big store so that we can first learn the market, understand the customer and also develop the recruitment,” he said.
The Metrotown pop-up store is about 10,000 square feet with the permanent store to be more than 35,000 square feet.
Decathlon has more than 1,700 stores in more than 70 countries.
“Canadians have a very active lifestyle from the get-go,” said Blais. “The four seasons here are really a good playground to be able to enjoy nature, the outdoors, no matter the province. There’s always that culture of movement and being active. That’s a very good playground for Decathlon to succeed in this.
“The access to sports is also something quite expensive in Canada and we feel we can add value to Canadians by opening stores where they are and offering Decathlon products which are high quality products at a fair price.”
Recently, Decathlon was named one of the top 5 Brands of the year by Strategy. It was also a Platinum winner in the Sporting Goods category for CommunityVotes Halifax 2023.