DIYSport & Leisure

Decathalon owners face backlash over Russian expansion plans

Leroy Merlin currently operates across 112 locations in Russia, with Decathalon operating around 60 sites

The French owners of sporting goods store Decathlon could be set to face public backlash after being accused of profiting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine amid reports it has set out plans to increase its presence in the country.

According to The Telegraph, its owners the Mulliez family plan to take advantage of the space left by its western rivals who have exited the country by expanding the presence of its Leroy Merlin brand.

Leroy Merlin currently operates across 112 locations in Russia, with Decathlon operating around 60 sites.

In a letter reportedly seen by the paper, the bosses of the Russian arm of Leroy Merlin revealed its sales have “significantly increased” in the weeks since the conflict started.

Also in the letter addressed to suppliers the company said that following the “disappearance of certain companies in the market” it is now “open” to proposals “on the increase of supply and the increase of your assortment of products”.

It added that in the next four months it plans to “fully replace imported products with those produced in Russia”.

Since the reports there have been posts on social media from the public expressing their disappointment at the company’s decision.

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