Decathlon Sporting Goods in Holland

Decathlon is a retail sporting goods chain and one of the biggest in the world. This French multinational had worldwide sales near €9 billion for 2015 and as of October 2016 operated 1,120 stores in 30 countries. Most recently, it has expanded in the Netherlands and South Holland in particular, opening a store in Rotterdam city center in July and and another in the lower level of the former V&D department store on the Grote Marktstraat in The Hague (Den Haag).

Decathlon store entrance The Hague

Decathlon's success as a purveyor of sports equipment can be attributed to a few factors:

  • Range of sports – The stores offer equipment products across a huge range of sports, from hugely popular sports, such as football (soccer), hockey and running, to more niche sports such as darts, table tennis and fishing.
  • Private label brands* – Referred to as 'Passion Brands', these are twenty labels used for products within a specific sport category. These products are only available in Decathlon stores and are developed by in-house product managers. Stores do offer popular international brands, such as Nike, Adidas, Puma and Asics, but those products are limited to the footwear and sportswear categories. So if you are looking for a Quicksilver snowboard, you won't find it at Decathlon. 
  • Focused assortment – The range of products available within each sport is highly edited, so instead of offering, say, multiple glove styles from a few brands in multiple sizes (as a typical sports retailer might), Decathlon may offer 1 style under one label (Wed'ze is the name of their in-house passion brand for skiing and snowboarding) in multiple colors and sizes. This might result in 10 sku's vs. 25 or 30 in a typical retailer. Fewer sku's mean the inventory of each sku is much deeper, which results in fewer out-of-stock situations. 
  • Low cost – The bulk of Decathlon's revenues are generated from products with in-house labels with lower costs than comparable branded products. This means the company can offer these products at lower retail prices and still earn a higher margin than a sporting goods competitor that only sells branded sports equipment. In categories like footwear, where Decathlon does offer products from brands, the assortment does not include top-of-the-line products with high prices with limited appeal to a mass audience. Instead, they offer items from their secondary or 'special makeup' collections. Those shoes are built with less expensive materials and therefore can retail at reduced prices compared to in-line products.     
  • In-store merchandising – The Decathlon stores are completely self-serve, with merchandise presented on modular walls, including footwear. For the consumer it reduces the amount of time it can take to try on multiple sizes, because there is no waiting for an associate to go fetch it in the stockroom. The free'd up time for the associate means they can be on the sales floor available to answer product questions a customer might have. The company also utilizes the color appeal of the products themselves which can make for an eye-catching presentation, as you can see below. All-in-all, it's a smart, low-cost and efficient in-store merchandising strategy. 

Decathlon store The Hague Netherlands


As of the writing of this post, there are 10 Decathlon stores in the Netherlands, but one can expect that number to keep growing over the next 12-24 months. Currently, there is only 1 location in North Holland, in southwest Amsterdam at the Amsterdam Arena center, a good distance from the city center. Another indication more location openings are likely… Netherlands: Decathlon locations = 10, population = 17 million vs. Belgium: Decathlon locations = 27, population = 11 million. 


*Decathlon 'Passion Brand' Labels


sports nutrition


tennis, racket sports


bikes, cycling




fitness, gymnastics




darts, archery


sport electronics






team sports






sports optics


urban skate






hunting, outdoor


water sports


skiing, winter sports


sporting goods online shop Holland


Comments are closed.