In News, Customers

Article by Philippe Bertrand published on 11/09/2014

At the end of August, sales were up 8.5%. The sporting goods specialist is stepping up the number of store openings.

At a time when the Go Sport group is preparing to exit the stock market ("Les Echos" yesterday) after disappointment after disappointment, Jacky Rihouet is sticking to his timetable. The president of the Intersport cooperative of retailers in France is maintaining his target of reaching sales of 2 billion euros by 2015 or 2016 at the latest.

Despite the sluggishness of the sporting goods market in France, Intersport continues to assert itself as the only serious competitor to undisputed leader Décathlon. According to its chairman, the network of independent retailers, which ended 2013 with sales up 3.5% to 1.48 billion euros, posted an 8.5% increase in sales at the end of August, including +5% on a like-for-like basis. The gap with the chasing pack is widening. Go Sport and Sport 2000 now each account for less than half of Intersport's business in France. For 2014 as a whole, Jacky Rihouet expects sales of €1.6 billion.

More store openings in 2015

The chain, which a year ago counted 363 units, including 220 in the lowlands and 143 in the mountains, will have seen 20 transfers, expansions or creations this year. And its managers are announcing a further 31 in 2015. In all, 80,000 square meters of sales area will have been created in two years. For a total investment of 70 million euros.

What's important," points out Jacky Rihouet, "is that for a long time we were only present in half of France. Today, we're expanding in the Paris region, with openings in major shopping centers such as Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois and Pontault-Combault, and a storefront on rue de Rivoli. We're also arriving in the South of France, with two openings in Marseille, in Plan-de-Campagne and Grand Littoral or Cannes."

To support the network's development, Intersport is also investing in its central services. Some 10 million euros have been invested in the central purchasing department, including a new showroom, and 9 million in a new IT system.

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