Since the French sports retail brand Decathlon set up shop here in the Philippines under the hashtag SportsForEveryJuan in 2016, it has been a paradise for serious sports enthusiasts. Their Alabang, Pasig, and Masinag Decathlon locations would take the form of “pilgrimages” for those looking for high-quality sports equipment and apparel that are simply not found in the regular sports stores in the malls. Well, all of that is about to change as Decathlon has an agreement with SM Supermalls and their city concept stores are about to open at SM North EDSA and SM MOA. And that’s the best news for those who know that Decathlon is the true one-stop shop for all kinds of sports – as it means more convenience and accessibility for Decathlon!

For those who live under a rock, Decathlon SA is a French sports retail brand with a global presence spanning over 1,647 stores in 57 countries. The company operates its own research and development, production, logistics and sales – all in-house. They work with global suppliers and market their own brand directly to consumers through their large stores and online delivery service. They are very proud to say that Decathlon offers affordable sportswear, shoes, and equipment for over 70 sports, all of which are backed by Decathlon’s 2 year warranty, and they are ready to refund any purchase within 365 days if it is will be returned in its original condition.

Steven Tan, President of SM Supermalls, and Hans Iff, CEO & Country Leader of Decathlon (Philippines)

Steven Tan, President of SM Supermalls, and Hans Iff, CEO & Country Leader of Decathlon (Philippines), chaired the signing ceremony, which officially heralds a new era in Decathlon’s collaboration with Filipino consumers. Their big box concept stores will continue to operate at their three locations; But while size and interaction are still important, the Decathlon brand is now set to reach a much wider audience. By the way, if you want to be a purist, the French pronunciation is one that puts the stress on the first syllable, forgets the “h” and says the last syllable as if you were saying the word “long” – but without the ‘g ‘and the’ n ‘fade away. And you’re ready to walk into the store by correctly saying the brand.

Speaking to Hans Iff, he was ready to accept that the pandemic has definitely changed the face of retail and that their online skills will become important in the current business model. But he was thrilled to talk about the City Concept Stores that will soon be popping up at the SM Supermalls locations, as the Decathlon experience is still about trying out the product, finding your way around, checking the fit and even making certain decisions Simulate movements and routines while wearing your future purchase and testing it on the street. Online can never replace that, and it will only be a matter of time before health and safety protocols relax and he raved about how the SM supermarkets promise a safe shopping experience.

Steven Tan, President of SM Supermalls, and Hans Iff, CEO & Country Leader of Decathlon (Philippines)

He reported how Decathlon provides ready-made and extensive clothing and equipment for cycling, running, yoga, outdoor hiking and trekking; and he’s seen these sporting activities at an all-time high with the pandemic among Filipino customers. These sports are trending around the world, so it’s good to know that Decathlon offers a number of options for these particular sports. When it comes to biking alone, he promises that new customers will be surprised by the selection and range, be it the bikes themselves or the equipment, clothing and accessories. And I remembered the Tour de France and how big sport biking is in France.

A unique aspect of the Decathlon DNA is the vertical integration, design and development of own products under more than 20 sport-specific brands. Certain sports groups and sub-groups will even have their own brands. It really is a journey of discovery to enter the world of Decathlon. Yoga, for example, is covered by the Kimjaly brand, while running is subsumed under the Kalenji brand. Inesis covers their golf apparel and equipment.

It’s just a short wait and the Decathlon shops in the SM supermarkets will open their doors, making the Decathlon experience a lot easier to get to and enjoy.

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