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Decathlon lands in Nairobi with sports merchandise

Screengrab from Decathlon's website. PHOTO | COURTESY
Screengrab from Decathlon's website. PHOTO | COURTESY 

French sporting goods retailer Decathlon is set to stamp its presence in the Kenyan market with plans to open its first store at The Hub, Karen next year.

In what will be good news for sports fans, the activewear firm has completed lease negotiations with the mall's management and is now set to embark on a 1,500 square metre store fit out, according to the multinational's Nairobi Project Leader Valéry Guers.

Mr Guers says once concluded, Decathlon - known for its Kalenji-branded running gear - will set out to develop a sports goods megastore stocked with a choice of 36,000 store keeping units and equipment covering over 70 sports.

“Kenya presents a unique market opportunity for us at Decathlon given its global renowned athletic prowess and general formal retail advancements. This fits in very well with our corporate mission to innovate and to remain the main playing partner of all sportsmen,” the French firm said in a statement Monday.

Foreign investments

Its entry is the third in the region this year, coming after store openings in Ghana and South Africa, as French companies increasingly look towards sub-Saharan Africa to grow their presence and raise earnings.

Decathlon's presence in the local market is the second by a major French multinational after Carrefour opened its first Kenya store in May 2016.

Kenyans' higher disposable income has attracted foreign investments in sectors including retail, which is rated as the continent’s second most developed after South Africa by London-based consultancy Oxford Business Group.

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), Kenya is among countries with no significant natural resources that receive notable foreign investment flows aimed at consumer-oriented sectors.

The sports merchandise retailer has 1267 stores in 35 countries globally.

Additional reporting by Lynette Mukami

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