Decathlon, one of the world’s largest sporting goods retailers, is looking to Ethiopia as a new low-cost country in which it will produce clothing, as the sports retailer races to keep shelves stocked at a growing number of stores world-wide.
Benoit Pousset, Procurement and Offer Director of Decathlon said that the manufacturing industry in Ethiopia is attractive for their business. “We have been talking with a number of textile manufacturers around the country and we saw their potential. Hopefully we will start buying within the next year.”
He further said that his company is in the process of establishing a representative office which will be operational in the next couple of weeks.
The French based company is also looking to buy footwear from shoe manufacturers. “We also looked at some shoe manufacturers and we are very much interested in placing an order.”
Decathlon has about a 1,000 stores in 21 countries including four stores in Morocco.
Representatives of Decathlon were part of the 30 French companies participated in the third French-Ethiopian Business Forum held this week. The delegation of companies came from various sectors including finance, energy, construction and telecommunication.
Pousset further said that his company has been exploring the Ethiopian market for the last two years for suppliers.
Decathlon started with a store in Lille, France in 1976, founded by Michel Leclercq. The retailer stocks a wide range of sporting goods, from tennis rackets to advanced scuba diving equipment, usually in large superstores which are sized at an average of 4,000m². Decathlon Group also owns 20 brands, with research and development facilities all over France to develop the latest innovative designs, registering up to 40 patents per year. Each brand represents a different sport or group of sports, with a dedicated product development and design team.