The dual management of innovation by the Decathlon Group. A distinctive strategic system on the sports goods market

Abstract : Sports market is a global market which has been growing at an annual average rate of about 2 to 3% for over a decade (Ohl & Tribou, 2004). Due to strong competition, brands are very dynamic (Chantelat, 2008). They constantly seek better positioning and new ways of gaining market shares (Bouchet & Hillairet, 2008). In order to do this, these brands put more and more emphasis on innovation (Hillairet, 2005). Following decades of domination by the major international brands and a permanent status quo between manufacturers on one side (i.e. Nike, Adidas,...) and specialized retailers on the other (i.e. in France, Decathlon, Intersport, GO Sport, Sport 2000...), since the late 1990s, the industry has undergone a significant change. Its structure has been transformed; new balances and new actors' statuses have appeared. Sports goods manufacturers become retailers by developing their own stores networks (i.e. Quiksilver, Lacoste ...), and retailers become sports goods manufacturers through the creation of sub-brands under their control. Especially dynamic, these retailers create brand models that compete with the manufacturers, and through innovation they are able to provide consumers with technical and high-performance goods at affordable prices. But how do these companies, whose basic trade is distribution, manage to generate innovations considered as difficult and expensive? How did their R&D departments become so competitive? Is their innovation and ideas management system the key of their success? In this paper we are going to examine the case of Europe's leading company in this sector, the Decathlon Group 2, which has a constellation of own brands named "passionbrands
Mots-clés : sport market management
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D. Hillairet, Guillaume Richard, Patrick Bouchet. The dual management of innovation by the Decathlon Group. A distinctive strategic system on the sports goods market. Journal of innovation economics, De Boeck Supérieur, 2009, 3, pp.189-210. ⟨10.3917/jie.003.0189⟩. ⟨hal-00585245⟩

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