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pamela

Wrestling at Decathlon USA

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(I wasn't sure where else to post this topic, sorry)

So Decathlon Sports is expanding into the US and I had the chance to visit one of their stores recently. They are a big European sporting goods chain with a global retail footprint and they produce pretty much all of their own merchandise under in-house private label brands, which I think helps keep their prices affordable. It's sort of like REI meets IKEA - think basic swimsuits & swim shorts starting at $4; two-person camping tents starting at $20; running sneakers starting at $15.  Decathlon seems to mostly target casual/first-time participants and weekend warriors as opposed to serious competitors. They have some "performance" stuff at higher price points too, but I'm not sure about the quality since the brands are unfamiliar. The stores are setup so you can come in and try stuff out/play all you want, plus they're cashless and have inventory robots drifting through the aisles so they probably tend to attract a younger crowd.

Anyway, I was pretty impressed with the selection and layout of the store, not to mention the prices, but was a bit disappointed that they didn't carry any wrestling gear. Decathlon has sections in their stores for combat sports like boxing, MMA and martial arts but unfortunately nothing for wrestling. They also have entire dedicated aisles for sports like equestrian and bow hunting (which actually seems really mismatched with the clientele of this particular store) but no wrestling shoes, headgear, singlets, etc. whatsoever.

I actually sent the company some feedback that I liked their store concept, but it kinda sucked that they have pretty much all the major sports represented plus stuff for a bunch of really niche activities like bocce, "turnball" and cruise sailing but zero merchandise for a big growing global Olympic sport like wrestling. To my surprise, Decalthlon's customer support was very responsive. They apologized and said that they are still trying to get a handle on the interests of US sports & leisure consumers and will consider adding wrestling products as they plan further expansion of their stores.

All this got me to thinking that maybe a retailer like Decathlon can help draw interest to wrestling by selling the equipment in an attractive retail environment that young people like, at prices that are extremely reasonable for parents. It could place wrestling into the consideration set alongside other "cool" sports and maybe make it easier to give it a try. Who knows.

If you'd like to pass along similar feedback to Decathlon, they have a contact form here: https://www.decathlon.com/pages/contact-us

Just thought I'd share.

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