French sports retail giant Decathlon are set to make their mark in the Irish market with plans for nine stores across Ireland.
The family-owned company, often called the ‘Ikea of sports retailing’ are expected to open their first store in Dublin, followed by Cork and Galway, along with more in Dublin and around the country.

The planned stores will employ more than 500 people. Sportswear lovers may already be fans of some of the 62 brands stocked by the retailer including Kipsta, Tribord, Artengo amd Quechua. . Decathlon will distinguish itself from other sports retailers such as Lifestyle and Sportsdirect by offering only its own brand products for sale in Ireland.

Ireland is one of the few European countries where the retailer does not have a high street presence. Decathlon considered branching out into Ireland several years ago, but backed away quite suddenly just before the country’s financial crisis broke. The brand recently set up its first Irish office in Sandyford and last October, established a dedicated Irish e-commerce website delivering directly to Ireland. It aims to ship 100,000 items here this year to some 50,000 users.

According to Decathlon Ireland CEO Bastien Grandgeorge, who moved to Dublin last August from Singapore, where he led Decathlon’s launch, the company is close to negotiating a deal for a 2,000-5,000sq m store on the outskirts of Dublin. While space in Dundrum Town Centre was suggested as a possible first Irish home, the company was looking for a much larger space. Mr Grandgeorge said a medium-term goal for the company is to develop its own brand for Gaelic sports.

Decathlon has 1,350 stores across more than 40 countries and a multi-billion euro annual turnover. Decathlon designs and manufactures the products itself, which, says the company, allows it to pass all the savings on to the consumer.