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Decathlon opens first Irish store after three-month COVID-19 delay

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Giant French retailer, Decathlon, had to postpone its bricks and mortar launch into the Irish market for three months because of COVID-19.

Decathlon – the French owner of the Caperlan fishing brand – has opened its first store in the Republic of Ireland after the initial unveiling was delayed for three months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The enormous €13m flagship store in the capital city of Dublin was due to be opened in March before the crisis enveloped the nation. The company had already hired a 96-strong team before almost immediately having to lay them off.

The doors finally opened last weekend with the store operating a strict queuing system that only permitted a certain number of shoppers and staff into the store at one time.

The move into Ireland is Decathlon’s third attempt to stake a base in the country, including in 2008 just before the financial crisis hit the region.

In 2017 it decided to try again and opened an Irish website. Bastien Grandgeorge, who is overseeing the project in Ireland for the company, told a RTE, Ireland’s television and radio broadcaster: “We started as a pure player online, just to study the feasibility of our company for the Irish sports enthusiast.

“From day one we had a wonderful response from the Irish public, many of whom were no doubt already familiar with the brand and its products from their visits to France and other parts of continental Europe.”

Ireland is the 58th country where the retail giant has a presence. It now employs 92,000 across the globe in 1,600 stores and last year had a turnover of €12.8 billion.

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