Since October, residents of Kinshasa – the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo – have been able to buy Decathlon products.
“Let’s help Congolese people to improve their lives and boost the country’s expansion by making sport accessible to all, as an educational tool that promotes togetherness; a tool that also brings economic and industrial benefits.” This was the idea driving Richard Kalinda, who manages the Decathlon project in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). With 60% of the country’s population under the age of 20, such a concept is no mean feat. Currently, the sports market range essentially consists of counterfeit major brands sold at premium prices or bad quality products. “Our overriding focus is to propose amazing products, with incredible value for money ratio,” explains Richard.
Welcoming the store’s first eager customers
The first customers to visit the inaugural showroom in Kinshasa in October were blown away. “They were amazed that Decathlon was setting up here. They couldn’t believe it. But they were really enthusiastic when they saw the quality and price of our products,” Richard remembers. Off the back of this successful venture, the Decathlon Kinshasa team is wasting no time in pushing the boundaries, in an effort to increase its 300m² space to 500m².
Football, hiking, running, fitness and much more… There is now a team of six employees, all of who are passionate about sport, and who will bring to life the showroom’s thirteen product universes. “I hired one of our first country employee when I saw them on a basketball court that I play on every Sunday morning,” explains Richard. “Each and every team member is involved in the area’s local clubs. We’re living right within the community here, alongside Kinshasa’s sports enthusiasts, and on hand for those who need us.”