Picture of the first Decathlon store

DECATHLON, the start-up going worldwide

In pictures : The 1st store's navy blue corrugated metal retail building at Englos, France.

Since it started out, the little blue box has come a long way. It's even exported itself. DECATHLON, the northern French start-up has gone international. Today it supports, facilitates and revolutionises sports around the world. Let's take a look back, in 5 major steps.

Illustration of the many sports

Birth of a start-up that loves sport

The adventure starts in an Auchan shopping centre's car park, in northern France. There are 7 of them, assembled in a 900 sq. m building. What they have in common: they are all sports lovers and motivated by an innovative idea: “bringing all sports under one roof!”.

In pictures : Poster from 1980.

Black and white picture of a Decathlon store in Germany

The blue box opens up to the world

The first store opens in Germany. Then the blue box goes around the world and sets up everywhere internationally. First Europe, then South America, Asia, Africa, North America and lastly Oceania. Whatever the country, teams are constantly motivated by a common goal: innovate in all domains to remain the sport user's main playing partner.

In pictures : First store opened outside of France, Dortmund (Germany).

Picture of the first mountain store in Domancy

DECATHLON makes it mark, and creates its own sports brands

DECATHLON has undergone some significant changes over the last 40 years! In 1996, We create TRIBORD and QUECHUA. These are our first own sports brands. Then numerous other ones see the light of day. They set up close to locations where sports users do their activity to exchange with them and meet their needs. 

In pictures : First mountain sport design center installed in Domancy (Haute-Savoie, France).

Picture of 3 people hiking in the mountains

2006, Our first steps towards eco-design.

Our first products, with an eco-design approach, arrive in our departments. It's a first step on our way towards sustainable development.

Picture of a family hiking in the forest

DECATHLON turned 40 !

We split up our own sports brands, we create new ones, to get even closer to each sport user's needs. We design equipment, we retail them, we provide guidance and support on how to use them thanks to our websites and apps. We even contribute to reusing them when the sports user no longer needs it. For us, all this is about being sports users' everyday partner.

Picture of a bike frame

Did you know ? 

Officially, we became a producer in 1986. In actual fact, as soon as 1976, we put on offer a DECATHLON labelled product: a metallic grey bike. In those days, certain brands refused to supply us with products, considering our retail margins too low. Stéphane Delesalle, the cycling department manager, approached Leleu, the local cycling manufacturer. Leleu and DECAT came to an agreement: a DECATHLON sticker is placed on the bike frame! It is on offer in all sizes, but comes in just one colour, visible from far away !

Picture of various stamps and stickers

1976: Our first steps, and also…

A look back at the big events that marked 1976

• 21st January : The first regular Concorde flight between Paris and Rio de Janeiro.
• 4th February : Opening ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Innsbruck, Austria.
• 1st April : Apple launches their 1st computer.
• 19th May : The first French National Lottery draw.
• 27th June : After the first and last G6 in 1975, the first G7 is organised in the United States with a new participant: Canada.
• 29th June : Éric Tabarly wins the solo transatlantic race.
• 17th July : Opening of the Olympic Games in Montreal, Canada.
• 18th July : The 63rd edition of the Tour de France is won by the Belgian Lucien Van Impe.
• 20th July : The American space probe Viking 1 is the first spacecraft to land on Mars.
• 3rd September : After Viking 1, the American space probe Viking 2 is the 2nd spacecraft to land on Mars.

We keep telling you the story ?


DECATHLON's founders : the gang of 7

Qui sont les fondateurs de DECATHLON ? Comment à débuter DECATHLON ?

Illustration de sportifs: coureurs, randonneurs et cyclistes

DECATHLON does it comm !

From the slogan to the small screen, a look back at the DECATHLON advertising years !