Sportswear and equipment retailer Decathlon has reported a decline in sales in the UK for the 2023 full year as it took a hit from the cost-of-living crisis and a turbulent sports market. 

Exterior of Decathlon store

Decathlon reported a 5% decrease in turnover for the 2023 full year

Decathlon reported a 5% decrease in turnover and a 2.5% decrease in comparable store sales in the UK for the 2023 full year.

The decline comes after the retailer enjoyed two years of growth in the country, with sales growing by 25% and 6% in 2021 and 2022 respectively.

Decathlon said the decline was due to three key elements: the elevated cost of living, which constrained consumer spending, market dynamics including structural changes in the sports market and strategic store closures.

It said it was impacted by cautious purchasing behaviour across the retail sector and a challenging economic environment, along with unpredictable weather patterns, which “adversely impacted seasonal sports such as camping and skiing, and contributed to a 7% decline in the overall UK cycle market”.

Decathlon has closed six underperforming stores over the past two years, which resulted in a 2.5% negative impact on turnover.

Franck Laden, chief financial officer for Decathlon UK, said: “Looking back at 2023, a year marked by significant challenges for the UK’s retail sector, particularly within key segments of the sports equipment industry, it’s evident that a combination of factors influenced our revenue growth negatively.

“These include declining purchasing power, seasonal hurdles like adverse weather conditions during peak summer and winter seasons, and our strategic decision to close certain stores.

“In response, our focus has remained squarely on our customers. We’ve implemented price adjustments, enhanced our market positioning and introduced innovative alternatives through our circular-economy models, both in store and online.

“Our commitment to enhancing customer experience remains steadfast. Substantial investments have been directed towards improving every touchpoint, whether online or offline, while simultaneously modernising our operational processes and structure for increased efficiency.

”Decathlon UK is now more ready than ever to engage with our customers and fulfil our mission of ‘Moving People Through the Wonders of Sport’.”