Storage and transport

Storing and transporting our products are important aspects of our business growth. In 2015, Decathlon pursued its three main strategies designed to reduce CO2 emissions generated by its logistics activities: reducing the distance travelled by items, optimising loads and using alternatives to road transport.

CO2 impact linked to the transportation of our products Passion brand articles delivered within Europe (from 01/01 to 31/12 2015)
409g eq. CO2 / art (vs 393 g eq. CO2 / art)

This slight increase can be explained by greater use of air transport (13% more products transported by plane). This is mitigated by the increase in the number of items per m3 transported from major import warehouses to distribution hubs.

Changes in the environmental impact of our products delivered to stores in Europe (in g.CO2/item.)

IMG_7042 (1)
The logistics project in China: combining long distances and a diverse range of activities

When planning their development strategy, Decathlon’s logistics teams in China take into account the need to rein in stock dispersal.

In 2 years, the logistics network has expanded from 2 warehouses with a combined surface area of 64,000m² to 4 logistics hubs covering 334,000m². Each logistics hub comprises 4 buildings each with an area of 20,000m², organised into small teams for individual sports. The 4 hubs cover all major import warehouse and distribution platform functions, reducing transport requirements by 20%.

This set-up sees 1,500 logistics specialists supply our 172 stores and our online retail customers in timeframes of between 20 and 40 hours. Transport teams also organise domestic and international transport for the purposes of production. Sports facilities are also provided, with a view to strengthening team spirit and enabling our team mates to play around fifteen different sports.

As a result of new rail developments in Chinese transportation infrastructure, all of Wuhan’s production is now sent to our northern European warehouses by train. Other production areas can also make use of this highly efficient mode of transport. Timeframes will have fallen from 42 days in 2015 to just 23 days in 2016. This makes it a seriously viable and economic alternative to air transport, which costs two to three times more than sending by rail.

China to Europe by train

Reducing the distances our products have to travel

Our teams are continually adapting our sourcing strategies through the use of two key levers:

  • when business growth allows it, opening new warehouses in order to keep stocks close to stores, which also has the added effect of making products available more quickly for sale.
  • optimising our sourcing patterns to reduce distances travelled or eliminate particular stages.

In northern France, our bikes take a short cut

In a location close to Lille (France), Decathlon assembles cycles on its own production site that are then sold under the B’twin brand.

In peak season, cycles are delivered directly to over 50 stores in northern France, Belgium and the Netherlands, within a three hour radius by road transport (lorry), by-passing regional distribution warehouses.

Optimised boxes, and better packed lorries and warehouses

We’re working on several different areas:

  • optimising boxes: an initiative conducted by our design teams,
  • filling lorries to capacity: as a result of the work and leadership of our logistics operations teams, the number of items per lorry rose from 12,504 in 2014 to 14,424 in 2015, i.e. an increase of 15%. This translated into over 8,500 fewer lorries on the roads in 2015!
  • increasing the number of items per m² in warehouses: optimising storage capacities in existing warehouses has also seen a reduction in the loss of greenfield sites that occurs when new structures are built (just one warehouse having a potential area of up to 60,000m²). By improving our high-level storage, we have increased the number of items sent per m² from 1,259 in 2014 to 1,330 in 2015.


These positive results are encouraging and illustrate teams’ determination to reduce the environmental impacts linked to our logistics activities.

Alternatives to road transport

Environmental certification of logistics warehouses (HQE, LEED, BREEAM and DGNB certification)
5warehouses certified in 2015

Global energy consumption for all warehouses is 63 kWh/m², representing a 12% reduction compared with 2014.

Where infrastructure permits, major import warehouses are located on multi-modal platforms. In Europe, 12.1% of products are transported from ports via train or barge.