Decathlon continues its offensive in San Francisco. After the opening of a store in Emeryville last April, the French sports equipment chain is about to open in Potrero Hill in November 2019.

The 3,500-square-meter store will look a lot like Emeryville's, with a selection of products spanning some 80 disciplines and the same scanners located throughout the store, allowing instant payouts and eliminating craving. "But we will go even further in innovation serving the customer experience, Bertrand Tison, development director of Decathlon USA. It was one of the reasons to move to San Francisco, to take inspiration from the local tech culture and inspire in Decathlon, and it works: many other Decathlon around the world follow suit, for example with robots providing inventory in stores.

By settling in the mall Potrero Center (at the corner of 16th Street and Bryant Street), just steps from the Mission District, the signboard chooses a place steeped in sports history. It is in the neighborhood that originally stood the Seals Stadium, which housed the San Francisco Giants. But it's mostlya neighborhood steeped in the history of the city, where people are used to come shopping, and at the same time very well served by two highways.

With this third store in the bay (the first, small and "experimental" had opened on Market Street in 2018), Decathlon confirms its California ambition. "Our plan is to be present all over the bay within 5 years explains Bertrand Tison. It is a colossal market, equivalent to that of Spain, and we want to go very quickly, as soon as these first stores have confirmed our intuitions ".

If it is still too early to deliver a quantified assessment of the Emeryville store, "The qualitative feedback from customers is very positive" Bertrand Tison assured. The American commitment to major sports brands that can not be found at Decathlon, which only sells "home" brands, does not seem to be an obstacle. "Once the surprise is over, they come back even more than in any other country in the opening phase" said the one who before arriving in the United States oversaw the development of the brand in China where it now has more than 300 stores. "The local audience is fond of novelties, and once they understand the story behind Quechua or Kalenji (the house brand of "running", Ed), they love".


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