Picture of the founders of Decathlon

DECATHLON's founders :
the gang of 7

In pictures : The famous “À Fond La Forme” (play more, pay less) t-shirt worn by the management team.

In 1975, Michel Leclercq has an idea. He doesn't know it yet, but it's going to revolutionise the world of sport and retailing. He's 35 years old and is cutting loose from Auchan, a family-run business, where he works in IT. His dream is to see a big store with just sport in it. A place where sportsmen and women, whether they play football or go running, could kit themselves out at an affordable price. This type of store didn't exist in those days. Not yet ...

Picture of the founders

“ You've got an idea, i've got one, we've got three. let's do it ! ” Michel Leclercq

Michel Leclercq surrounds himself with 6 teammates, which he recruits within a week. Didier Decramer, Stéphane Delesalle, Nicolas Dubrulle, Stanislas Ernoult, Hervé Valentin, Benoit Poizat and Michel Leclercq form a motivated team. Even if some are inexperienced in the retailing sector, they've got two things in common: determination and passion for sport. When they are not working, they do sports together: football, skiing, cycling, sailing, field hockey and plenty of other sports!

No rules are set out. Everything has to be built from scratch, and the new teammates are the builders. They started with a blank sheet of paper when thinking through DECATHLON's strategy. Michel Leclercq trusts them, giving them free rein to take initiative. What matters is their drive, regardless of their lack of retail experience. It's an innovative style of management, built on trust, that's still part of our DNA.

Some of the founders: Didier, Stéphane, Hervé, Benoit, Stanislas, Michel. Nicolas isn't in the picture.

Being in the field...

...is especially about being on the shop floor, making yourself available to customers. Our customers are firstly sports users, just like us. And today our teammates motivation hasn't changed: satisfied sports users is still their job

"Give customers advice as if they were your best mates.
Michel Leclercq"

Picture of Michel Leclercq

Michel leclercq

Founder of decathlon

Our purpose isn't to have the highest turnover, but to see our customers return in six months to a year. You are not allowed to mislead a customer at DECATHLON.

DECATHLON in 4 questions

In this video you will find an interview with a DECATHLON pioneer : Benoît POIZAT!

We keep telling you the story ?


DECATHLON, the start-up going worldwide

The beginnings of DECATHLON, from its creation to export, from France to the rest of the world: let's rediscover the 5 main stages of its birth.