// Decathlon UK sales rise 10.3% as it continues with expansion & investment scheme
// Gross sales for the year came in at £277.6m and net sales was £236.5m
// Decathlon expects a loss before tax of £7.5m but attributed this to a £4.3m investment & expansion scheme
Decathlon has revealed strong growth in the UK and an increase in its investments to further deliver its expansion scheme amid rising demand.
In its annual trading update, the French sports and outdoor leisure retailer recorded a 10.3 per cent uptick in sales in its UK market, boosted by an 18.2 per cent in online sales.
Decathlon, which has been trading in the UK since 1999 and currently employs 1600 people, said its gross sales were £277.6 million while net sales came in at £236.5 million.
Despite strong growth in turnover, Decathlon said expected loss of £7.5 million before tax was due to £4.3 million investment in new stores and infrastructure amid its UK expansion programme.
The retailer said that despite the turbulent times presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK market remains a main target of growth for business and re-iterated a strong plan of investments to match its expectations of growth, both physically and digitally, in the country.
In the last financial year, Decathlon opened a new store in Ealing Broadway in west London and will also open a new store in Aberdeen by the end of the year.
In 2021, the sports retailer plans to open four new stores, with one already confirmed for Leeds.
The retailer added that it has invested in a modernised ecommerce solution and a new supply chain infrastructure to strengthen its multichannel offering, while also creating opportunities for employees to continue to or become co-owners in the Decathlon business via a dedicated shareholder scheme.
At the end of 2019, the retailer said more than 705 of its UK staff were shareholders in the business.
“Last year’s results show a trading period where turnover has strongly improved,” Decathlon chief financial officer Alberto Bottan said.
“And even if 2020 remains a very complicated year due to the Covid impact on retail, we are very confident in our ongoing performances and we aim to achieve profitability by the end of the year.
“We have invested over £200,000 in the training and development of our teams, that are at the heart of our expansion strategy.”
He added: “Online has continued to grow strongly and we keep investing heavily in ecommerce and warehousing to help fulfil growing online demand.
“There are three elements to highlight looking forward to 2020: first of all we are very proud to have fully preserved employment during this terrible period; secondly we observe a strong acceleration in terms of urban mobility and fitness categories, where we can offer some amazing products to our customers; finally we are increasing our omni-channel capacities through innovative solutions like delivery from store or very fast, local deliveries.”