Decathlon is a retailer which has always fascinated me, due to the sheer variety and range of sportswear and equipment they offer. I don’t know of any other store which specialises in such a wide range of sports all under one roof, and at such affordable prices.
The stores have always been quite sparsely located around the country, so I was interested to hear about their plans for rapid expansion over the next few years. Last week, I was invited to the press launch and VIP evening for a new branch located in Harlow, Essex.
We were introduced to the concept behind Decathlon and the history of the retailer by CEO Thibaut Peeters. The company originated in France and aims to promote access to and participation in sport, by offering quality products at affordable prices.
Decathlon pride themselves on innovation, they’ve won several awards for their product concepts. The chain develops and sells its own brands, including Kalenji for running, Quecha for outdoor sports and B’Twin for cycling. We were told about the design and development process behind each product. Each brand actually invites a group of customers into their headquarters each season, to receive feedback and comments on their new product concepts. As someone who has designed clothing and sportswear for the past decade, I found this a really exciting idea- it’s so important to connect with the customer and listen to their views and thoughts.
We were shown around the store by the retail manager who highlighted some of Decathlon’s most popular products. The ski, running and cycling sections were particularly extensive, with meticulously organised kit, accessories and equipment.
Each section had something on offer for everyone, from the beginner to the seasoned athlete. The range of running shoes started at only £7.99 for a basic pair, right up to £140 for the latest Asics model. Decathlon seems like the perfect place to get kitted out for a new sport without spending a fortune.
Other services available in store are gait analysis, bike servicing and repairs, ski boot fitting and T-shirt printing.
Some of the products which caught my eye were, Speedo triathlon wetsuits for just £89.99…
A wide range of fun swimming caps and goggles…
Bold coral and turquoise running leggings and jackets…
Road bikes starting at just £330…
Huge selection of gels, bars and protein powders…
Cute skiing hats…
Yoga mats, pilates balls and foam rollers..
There were also pancakes, popcorn and smoothies available at the launch!
The only thing lacking was a range of triathlon specific clothing, but I assume this will be introduced as the seasons change.
I didn’t make any purchases on the night, but I have previously bought some thermal running leggings, an aerobics step and some cycling accessories. I’ve found the quality to be amazing for the price, although the fit of the clothing is not quite as good as more premium brands.
For more information on Decathlon Harlow, including opening hours and location check out this link.
Have you ever shopped in Decathlon? What do you think of the range?
I wasn’t given anything for writing this review (except for pancakes), all opinions are my own.