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Decathlon reportedly still doing business in Russia

By Susan Zijp


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Credits: Decathlon

French sports retail giant Decathlon has sold goods to Russia despite promising not to, an analysis by research firm Disclose showed. This news comes after Decathlon announced in an official statement on 29 March 2022 that "in solidarity with colleagues" in Ukraine and neighbouring countries it would no longer supply Russia. Decathlon also stated that it would suspend the operation of its shops.

Little of this has been complied with, however. Internal documents and testimonies that Disclose was allowed to inspect showed that Decathlon has been supplying to Russia via a roundabout route.

Decathlon supplied sportswear such as ski jackets, trousers and shoes. These were flown in from Bangladesh, where they were produced, in November 2023 and were then sold to Russia through a "shell company" in Dubai. Decathlon sold a total of 12 million dollars worth of fashion to the company Desport, which has a total of 60 outlets in Russia.

Decathlon would not yet comment on Disclose's investigation. However, they did inform the research agency that they will "do everything possible to prevent products being resold in or to Russia".

On 24 February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. This led to sanctions by countries and an exodus of foreign firms. Decathlon issued a statement a month later noting that it would no longer be operating in Russia.

This article was updated Jan 29, 09:00, to include a statement from Decathlon reading: "Since October 2023, Decathlon no longer operates any stores, employs any staff, nor holds any stake in businesses in the Russian Federation.

”As part of its disengagement from the Russian Federation, Decathlon prioritised ensuring that the employment of teammates was maintained with the new owner, for those who wished.

”This is why Decathlon chose to transfer all of its operations and assets to the company ‘ARM’, which owns the Desport brand. To finalise the transaction, it was agreed, in accordance with current local and international regulations, to supply a limited quantity of products for a limited period of time, to support the buyer in the launch of its new operations, thereby preserving the jobs of former teammates.

”Decathlon reaffirms its commitment to complying with all applicable local and international regulations.“