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World’s Largest Sports Retailer Eyes U.S.

Published August 17, 2010

ONTARIO, CA (BRAIN)—Oxylane Groupe-Decathlon, the French operator of the world’s largest sports retail chain Decathlon, looks to be gearing up for another try in the United States—this time on the West Coast.

Oxylane Groupe has purchased The Town Center Ontario (California)—a 128,300 square-foot property for $11.75 million, according to Donald MacLellan, senior managing director for Faris Lee Investments, in a statement.

Decathlon develops and sells its own brands including its Btwin bikes, which are known for their solid pricepoints and wide range of offerings.

The company first gave it a go in the United States when it purchased the 20-store, New England MVP Sports chain in 1999, rebranding them as Decathlon USA. In 2003 Decathlon restructured its operations, dropping to just four Massachusetts stores. Three years later Decathlon USA ceased operations altogether in the United States.

“We regret that insufficient performance compelled us to take this action,” said Yves Claude, Decathlon USA’s chairman of the board, at the time.

Adding to Decathlon’s U.S. demise was the recall in late 2006 of 22,000 Quechua brand tents and canopies, which is another of Decathlon’s house brands. The tents were recalled because they didn’t meet U.S. flame resistant standards, posing a possible fire hazard.

Decathlon has also reportedly acquired a site in the Chino-Chino Hills area near the 71 freeway.

Decathlon was founded in 1976, and now has more than 350 stores worldwide. The privately held company employs 40,000 people.

—Jason Norman

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