Decathlon Canada : For the Love of Sports

Callam WallerLauren Kania
Callam Waller - Head of North American Operations Lauren Kania - Junior Editor
Highlights
  • Decathlon Canada offers a diverse range of products that cater to all levels of athletes, sports enthusiasts, and people who possess the desire to become more active.
  • “Our daily efforts are guided by our unwavering commitment to democratizing sports and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to experience the joy, health benefits, and sense of community that comes with being active,” says Nicolas Roucou, CEO, Decathlon Canada.
  • Currently, Decathlon Canada operates nine stores in Quebec, seven in Ontario, one in Nova Scotia, two in Calgary, and one in Vancouver, with over 1,000 dedicated teammates committed to serving customers and local communities.

Nicolas Roucou, CEO of Decathlon Canada, speaks to us about the company’s long-standing history and its mission to move people through the wonders of sport.

FOR THE LOVE OF SPORTS

Sports have served as a means of unification and escapism from daily routine since the beginning of mankind, bringing together countries, cultures, and people more quickly and passionately than any other form of entertainment or pastime. 

In addition to the speed, strength, stamina, and endurance that are associated with professional athletes, sports allow individuals of any background to explore new activities, meet new people, and improve both their physical and mental health in an enjoyable and beneficial manner. 

No company better demonstrates these qualities and works towards furthering the accessibility of sports for the public than Decathlon.   

Founded in France in 1976, Decathlon has been on a mission since its inception to move people through the wonders of sport in an accessible and sustainable way. 

“By working together with our customers, partners, and communities, we believe that we can make a positive impact and inspire people to lead happier, healthier lives through sports,” introduces Nicolas Roucou, CEO of Decathlon Canada

Decathlon Canada, specifically, opened its first store in Brossard, Quebec, in 2018, marking a significant milestone for the company globally. 

“The warm reception from the local community affirmed our decision, propelling us to expand further into the Quebec market in the subsequent years,” Roucou enthuses. 

Currently, Decathlon Canada operates nine stores in Quebec, seven in Ontario, one in Nova Scotia, two in Calgary, and one in Vancouver, with over 1,000 dedicated teammates committed to serving customers and local communities. 

“We are incredibly lucky in this industry to be so close to the customers and their needs. With such a fast-paced market, there is never a dull moment, and passion is always easy to find,” elaborates Roucou. 

With a customer-first approach at the heart of the company’s purpose, providing thoughtful and innovative products is always the immediate priority for Decathlon Canada. 

SPORTS FOR ALL, ALL FOR SPORTS

With a unique background as a space engineer, Roucou joined the Decathlon team in 1991 after deciding to pursue his career aspirations in the sporting industry. 

After working in a variety of leadership positions within the company, Roucou embarked on the journey of building the Canadian project for Decathlon alongside a team of five individuals who shared his excitement for introducing the brand to a new market. 

“Our approach from the outset was centered around testing, learning, and scaling our success,” he insights. 

“Considering the youthfulness of our campus here in Canada, we have seen great success in not only selling our products but also positively impacting everyone both in-store and in the community.” 

Roucou’s background and proven track record of constantly moving, adapting, being agile, and challenging himself to go further is representative of how Decathlon Canada has evolved over the years. 

Specifically, when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, hurdles such as production shortages and longer lead times threatened the industry. However, this adversity also presented opportunities, with a notable uptick in online and in-store sales driven by the growing interest in home fitness and wellness activities. 

“Throughout these trials, our teams exhibited remarkable agility and resilience. Maintaining a clear vision of our goals has been instrumental thus far, enabling us to navigate challenges with confidence and determination,” acclaims Roucou. 

As storefronts began opening back up after the pandemic, Decathlon Canada continued its wave of success, committed to building the company alongside its fellow Canadians. 

In order to accomplish its mission, the business offers a diverse range of products that cater to all levels of athletes, sports enthusiasts, and people who possess the desire to become more active.   

“In addition to our product offerings, we also focus on creating welcoming and inclusive environments in our stores and online platforms,” expands Roucou. 

With team members who are passionate about sports and dedicated to providing exceptional service, customers can expect genuine advice and an atmosphere that invites individuals to find the bravery to partake in new adventures. 

“Furthermore, we are constantly exploring innovative ways to make sports more accessible and enjoyable for everyone. This includes initiatives such as community outreach programs, partnerships with local organizations, and events that promote active lifestyles and participation.”

“Our daily efforts are guided by our unwavering commitment to democratizing sports and ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to experience the joy, health benefits, and sense of community that comes with being active”

Nicolas Roucou, CEO, Decathlon Canada

UNCOVERING YOUR INNER STRENGTH

Alongside the exciting opening of two more storefronts in 2024, Decathlon Canada has introduced its new brand identity to the world. 

“This momentous occasion signifies the culmination of an ongoing transformation journey, aimed at aligning even more closely with the evolving needs of new and existing customers,” details Roucou. 

“In a world where markets are growing ever more discerning, this unveiling represents our commitment to remaining at the forefront of innovation and customer centricity.” 

Brand identity is valued immensely by Decathlon Canada, having been recently named as Strategy Magazine’s 2023 Brand of the Year, a truly proud moment for those who work diligently to provide an accessible, affordable, and inspirational experience to all who interact with the business. 

In addition to the many individuals who make up Decathlon Canada, the company readily recognizes and praises the significant importance of partner and supplier relationships to its success. 

“Our supply chain operations are the foundation of our commitment to delivering quality products at affordable prices to our customers,” expands Roucou. 

Building a flexible supply chain that can adapt to various contexts and minimize risks ensures a seamless flow of goods regardless of circumstances, and Decathlon Canada is dedicated to creating an integrated, end-to-end supply chain that meets the needs of its many customers. 

By carefully balancing stock levels, planning production strategically, and distributing stock to align with local demand, the company ensures not only quality and conformity but also price accessibility achieved through its long-standing partnerships with trusted suppliers. 

“At Decathlon Canada, we are committed to enhancing operational excellence through the innovation, automation, and optimization of processes. By embracing cutting-edge technologies, we enhance flexibility and agility in our operations while contributing to talent development and fostering team well-being,” explains Roucou. 

Ultimately, at the center of everything that Decathlon Canada does is its customers, whose satisfaction is the company’s purpose.

LEAVING A TRAIL

Having been ranked 15th in the Forbes 2022 World’s Best Employers list, creating a workplace that endorses growth, open communication, and innovation is a top priority for Decathlon Canada and a responsibility that it does not take lightly. 

“Our management philosophy centers around empowering our team members with purpose and responsibilities that often stretch beyond their initial expertise. We cultivate a culture of experimentation, where making courageous decisions is encouraged at all levels,” enthuses Roucou. 

This ethos ensures flexibility, enabling the company to swiftly adapt to meet the distinctive needs of customers and deliver maximum value. 

Additionally, Decathlon Canada provides a comprehensive training program that covers both technical and interpersonal skills, alongside offering a private stakeholding program to ensure that everyone feels a sense of ownership and underscore the company’s commitment to fostering a deeply engaged and motivated workforce. 

“We prioritize investing in our people and their learning, recognizing that our team members are fundamental to our success,” asserts Roucou. 

Sustainability initiatives are equally important to the company. This includes reducing its carbon footprint by encouraging teammates to commute on bikes, optimizing stock levels of trucks, and prohibiting air transport deliveries. 

“We’re also proud to run a robust second-hand program in our storefronts, offering lightly used or unpackaged products at discounted prices. Select locations also provide free practice spaces, further enhancing accessibility and participation in sports for local communities,” informs Roucou. 

As Decathlon Canada looks towards its bright future, the company will continue to communicate its value proposition and evolve its approach to more accurately convey the exceptional quality of its products and reinforce its position as a leading global sports brand that always puts its customers’ needs first.

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By Callam Waller Head of North American Operations
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Callam Waller is Head of North American Operations at North America Outlook Magazine. He is responsible for showcasing leaders, c-suite executives and corporate success stories from across North America.
By Lauren Kania Junior Editor
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Jack Salter is an in-house writer for North America Outlook Magazine, where he is responsible for interviewing corporate executives and crafting original features for the magazine, corporate brochures, and the digital platform.