Decathlon to open fourth and biggest store here in January

Riding on a tie-up with national sports agency Sport Singapore (SportSG), French sporting goods retailer Decathlon is set to open its fourth and biggest store here.

The outlet in Stadium Boulevard in Kallang will be about 5,000 sq m and is expected to open in January next year.

Decathlon opened its first outlet here in Bedok in 2016. Last year, it welcomed foot traffic of two million to its three stores here. The 4,000 sq m showroom in Joo Koon is currently the biggest.

Decathlon's Asia chief executive Yves Claude and SportSG CEO Lim Teck Yin signed the memorandum of understanding yesterday.

The Kallang store will be called Decathlon Singapore Lab and is the first in Asia to offer virtual simulations and augmented reality and new technology like foot scanners for customers shopping for shoes.

Mr Claude said: "Traditional retail is in trouble around the world. The expectations of customers are changing very quickly, they will not come just for the (store) layout.

"We want to do something different here and that's why we need the space. The experience will not be perfect immediately but that's why we are calling it a lab."

Decathlon has a 15-year lease from SportSG, which owns the land. As part of the pact with SportSG to promote participation in sport, the store will feature sports events and clinics for customers in its free-to-play areas and an Active Health Lab. Active Health Labs are facilities under SportSG's Active Health movement which provide free screeningsto the public.

"It's unusual for an agency like us to sign an MOU with a retailer but Decathlon share our goal to make sports accessible," said Mr Lim.

Decathlon will continue to provide equipment and apparel to the 10 ActiveSG academies and centres islandwide. ActiveSG, the national movement for sport, has more than 1.4 million members.

Ms Esther Ho, deputy director at Nanyang Polytechnic's School of Business Management, said: "Focusing on the experience is the direction for most retail stores today, especially for sports retail where there is a lot of technical expertise that needs to be transferred to customers."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 23, 2018, with the headline 'Decathlon to open fourth and biggest store here in January'. Print Edition | Subscribe