Sporting goods giant Decathlon has reported a rise in annual sales in the UK and plans to open more stores here this year and next.

Decathlon, the biggest sports retailer in the world, generated a gross sales rise of 10% to £277.6m. Online sales rose 18%.

The retailer booked a £7.5m loss before tax, which it said was down to investment in stores and infrastructure reflecting “expectations of growth, both physically and digitally”. The UK is one of the French retail giant’s main targets for expansion.

Last year Decathlon invested £4.3m in “physical store, ecommerce and warehouse assets” and opened a new branch in Ealing Broadway, London. The retailer trades from 40 UK locations. 

This year Decathlon will open a new branch in Aberdeen and four more stores are planned for 2021, including one in Leeds. 

Decathlon UK chief financial officer and property director Alberto Bottan said: “Last year’s results show a trading period where turnover has strongly improved. 

“Even if 2020 remains a very complicated year due to the Covid impact on retail, we are very confident in our ongoing performances and we aim to achieve profitability by the end of the year.

“There are three elements to highlight looking forward to 2020: first of all we are very proud to have fully preserved employment during this terrible period; secondly we observe a strong acceleration in terms of urban mobility and fitness categories, where we can offer some amazing products to our customers; finally we are increasing our omnichannel capacities through innovative solutions like delivery from store or very fast, local deliveries.”