Market Intelligence France: retailer Chullanka continues strong growth

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

By Emmanuel Gravaud, Outdoor Experts

All systems are a go for the French outdoor retailer who has enjoyed renewed growth for its brick and mortar business and continues to boost online sales. Chullanka, which means “snow-capped peak” in Quechuan, had a great 2017-2018 winter. “Our business was up for all product categories, not just skiing and snowboarding, and we ended the winter with strong growth.”

Three years after breaking off from Decathlon, the French sporting goods giant, Chullanka continues to grow at a steady pace. Today, its 4 retail stores in Antibes, Toulouse, Metz, and Bordeaux, post combined annual revenues of just over €20 million. This dynamic natural growth should soon be boosted by new stores opening and acquisitions, as the two private equity firms who each purchased a third of Chullanka’s shares, Notus Technologies and Compagnie d’Anjou, had announced.

Over the last three years, the retailer first redesigned its store in Metz, then opened a store in Bordeaux-Merignac (1500m²), and finished by launching its e-commerce website. “We are very happy with sales generated by our store in Bordeaux, which continues to grow, but we need to wait another three to four years before reaching cruising speed. We are also very happy with online sales. Our e-commerce website went live less than two years ago, and in the long run it should become the chain’s biggest point of sale,” highlights Thierry Crampes, who worked in e-commerce (Rue du Commerce, Galeries Lafayette) until June 2017, when he took over Chullanka from long-time general manager Bruno Laurent. Today, online customers are primarily from the greater Paris area and the Rhône-Alpes Region,“areas where we do not have stores,” says the GM.

What is new this year? The retailer has added yoga to its shelves. “Yoga is very compatible with outdoor sports and has grown in popularity in France. It helps us to appeal more to female customers,” explains Thierry Crampes. Other new additions include swim-run and triathlon gear. Trail and road running are, in spite of their growth, complicated sports for retailers. “It’s a very competitive e-commerce market. As an omni-channel business, we strive to maintain the same prices in-store as on the web. Although we do well, it’s not easy.”

However, the general manager noted that Chullanka did experience considerable growth in backcountry skiing / alpine touring gear sales last winter, and a boom in rock climbing. “The huge increase in the number of climbing gyms is what is currently drives the market. Climbing shoe sales are going through the roof in all of our stores!” The 2700m² store in Metz, inherited with the split from Decathlon, now shares the space with an Altissimo climbing gym.

This article is a condensed translated version of an article originally published in French in the September 2018 issue of Outdoor Experts.

Outdoor Experts is one of France's premier trade magazines for the outdoor industry in France. http://outdoorexperts.fr/magazine/

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