Just last Sept. 30, 2021, I wrote about the French sports retail giant Decathlon, and how they had just signed an agreement with SM Supermalls. Present in the Philippines since 2016, they were operating three “big box” concept stores; and were now making themselves more accessible, especially for the mall-going public, via the city concept stores that would rise initially, at SM North EDSA and at SM MOA. Just earlier today and less than two months later, I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of the SM North EDSA store, and it’s truly a welcoming haven for sports enthusiasts of every shade and color!
The Decathlon motto of #SportsForEveryJuan comes alive even within the confines of these smaller city concept stores. That means affordable, well-priced sportswear, shoes, equipment, and gear for over 70 sports—all within one store. Without a doubt this is the most complete sports store one can find on the planet… and possibly beyond. I defy the man on the street to even list down 70 different sports; but Decathon is here, ready to answer the needs of the ones who indulge in these 70 diverse sports activities.
Decathlon Philippines Country Head Hans Iff reassured me that if the smaller dimensions of the city concept mall stores means that some merchandise might not be represented, or stocks of sizes are limited, it’s really easy to head to their online store, and secure the items you need. The physical stores are interactive, there so one can try out the items and sizing before purchase; and the online store is there for wider accessibility, convenience, and to facilitate deliveries.
With the light at the end of this COVID tunnel in sight, it’s been apparent that outdoor and/or physical activities, along with wellness, have really been paramount in the mindset of so many. Health has always been important, but now, more than ever, there‘s a real commitment to maintain some regimen or routine that involves cardio and muscle tone. Whether biking, yoga, running, or hiking, I was impressed by the number of options in gear, equipment, apparel and footwear that this North EDSA store was carrying.
In biking alone, whether hardcore, endurance, off-track, recreational, or beginner, there’ll be a bike that’s right for you, and that includes for the children as well. And what important to note is how the staff ready to assist you are quite often enthusiasts themselves of the section they represent. So a real biker or staff member will be offering advice to novice bikers on what to get—it’s not just hired staff out to sell, but someone with true knowledge of what he’s offering to you.
Decathlon has also been about the management and staff of any store taking ‘ownership’ of the store—so it was nice to hear the store manager himself welcoming the guests, rallying his staff, and taking us on a tour of the store’s floor area. Hans Iff stayed in the background, except for photo ops with special guest QC Vice-Mayor Gian Sotto, who was happy to mention that he’s been a longtime Decathlon patron, sourcing most of his sports requirements at their stores.
SM’s Mitch So was happily going through the different sections, and visibly impressed by the price points at Decathlon, saying something to me about yoga blocks and mats. I know I was happy to find hard court tennis shoes, as anyone who plays the sports will know that active performance tennis shoes are to find here. Your two big retail brands in sports footwear have shifted to street wear, and their performance stores will only carry running, basketball, cross-training shoes, with golf if you’re lucky.
The last little nugget of information I’ll share is that the MOA Decathlon store should be open by the third week of December 2021, and so that means from North to South, Decathlon has you covered—in over 70 different sports!