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Luxembourg sport shops confident they can compete with Decathlon

Luxembourg sport shops confident they can compete with Decathlon

19.01.2016 From our online archive
Sport shops in Luxembourg are bracing themselves after the opening of French giant Decathlon on the Belgium-Luxembourg border. But early signs are looking positive.

(lb/JB) Sports shops in Luxembourg are feeling the competition after French sports giant Decathlon opened a new shop next to the Luxembourg border, in Belgium.

Decathlon, which opened in Sterpenich, next to Ikea, on December 18, 2015, welcomed 7,000 shoppers in its first three days.

With half of its clientèle coming from Luxembourg, according to Director Sylvain Deschamps, the arrival puts pressure on sports shops already established in Luxembourg.

“For us, the arrival of Decathlon is not pleasing,” said Citabel Sports director Marc Galli, adding: “On the market there is already plenty of competition in Luxembourg.”

Decathlon counts 1,030 stores across 27 countries. Last year it experienced double digit growth before taxes, recording 8.2 billion euros in sales.

Its USP is the sale of its own brands, which are considerably cheaper than better known brands.

While Mr Galli did not notice a decline in figures since Decathlon opened a month ago, he said that “for Luxembourg, it will not be pleasant.”

He plans to focus on the proximity advantage Citabel has over the cross-border shop, as well as the expert advice his staff offer. "It makes no sense to start a price war," said Galli.

In 2013 the sale of sporting goods in the country amounted to 112.5 million euros.

Asport director Marc Haentges was confident his chain of stores could compete in other ways.

“[Decathlon] is certainly a serious competitor. What we have noticed is that Decathlon serves a different kind of clientèle,” he said, adding: “Our customers are interested in branded goods whereas Decathlon makes sales mainly in no-name products.”

Luxembourg retailers are not the only ones to be threatened by the French giant. In Belgium, sport shops near Sterpenich recorded revenue falls of 20 percent.

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