DECATHLON OPENS NEW LONDON STORE
14th March 2018 | James Cove, Decathlon HQ, France
The outdoor sports retailer has opened a new shop in Kensington this week. ‘So, what?’ you may well ask.
It may not seem much.
A single store in a road in London, Kensington High Street, that already has many such shops – Snow+Rock, Ellis Brigham and Blacks to name a few.
But that is exactly the point.
Decathlon is trying to get a slice of an important market and in the winter months it is focusing on skiing and snowboarding.
Its snowsports product has been re-vamped with an expanding range of gear and now it even produces its own skis and snowboards under the Wed’ze brand name.
Its aim is simple: to make its snowsports products accessible to everyone, in terms of quality and price.
Next season there will be further growth.
The Kensington store is its 39th in the UK.
Snowsports are at the centre of the expanding Decathlon operation with new skis, snowboards and clothing coming.
The store, in High Street Kensington, opened on Thursday 15th March, at 3pm.
By any judgement the assault on the UK outdoor market is impressive.
Last year 10 more opened with new stores in Brent Cross, Uxbridge, Chelmsford, Chingford, Cambridge, Brighton, Beckton, Dunstable, Guildford and High Wycombe.
This year the pace has slowed but more are planned including a selection of cities round the UK.
So, what is Decathlon offering for us skiers and snowboarders?
Is it any good?
And is it selling at the right price?
Well, here at PlanetSKI we have already been testing out the women’s clothing in the French Pyrenees and Andorra:
And coincidentally as it opens a flagship store in Central London PlanetSKI is out in the French Alps at its HQ near Chamonix and we are also out on the slopes testing its new range of skis for 2018/19.
It seems to be hitting a gap in the market where people want quality product, but want it at a more affordable price and are not so interested in a brand-name and label.
We will be posting a full report shortly on the changes afoot and what impact it hopes to have in the UK.
We have seen behind the scenes in the design rooms:
And in the workshops:
We have had an exclusive preview of next year’s offerings of its own brand skis: Wed’ze.
It is moving into freeride and touring:
And best of all?
Wednesday was a powder day in the nearby mountains and many of the design team decided to go and test out product.
“Well, it is the honest and full testing that makes the skis and gear what they are,” we were told.
And here at PlanetSKI we are following suit by testing the skis where it really matters: out on the slopes.
On Wednesday evening the sopes were opened for us at night to test on hardpack and icy slopes above Passy.
Look out for our reports later, but in the first instance here is my take on the Wed’ze piste skis.
Nothing spectacular, but they are very decent skis at a more than decent price:
It is though a very tough market, especially skis.
There has been a sharp fall in people buying their own equipment, partly caused by the expense of purchasing and transporting their kit to the resort but also by the massive improvement in the equipment offered by the rental shops.
It will be interesting to see how successful Decathlon is in the snowsports market.
The new store in Kensington will be a useful indicator.
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