106 Sports Club Concept Store in Paris. Embedded Experience

Just before the UEFA Euro 2106 started, a new sport concept store had opened on Boulevard Saint Germain in central Paris. A new retail iteration from one of the major French sporting good chains ? Not at all. In reality, 106 Sports Club is an unexpected and exciting retail nugget designed by a talented independent retailer who already runs a popular store in Nantes, a major city in the west part of the country. Fancy a tour ?

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  • 106 Sports Club has been obviously designed to showcase Nike and Adidas full football (soccer) –  and a smaller selection of sport apparel for Rugby and Hand-Ball – line-up to meet demanding sport performance players expectations. I realized while visiting the store that leading global sport brands are enclined to collaborate and support independant retailers when it comes to showcase their innovative high-end range of products. In a french market where Decathlon – and its prominent private labels – is still dominant, there is, unfortunately, almost any nationwide sport retailers that really focus on brands and innovation seriously. That’s one of the reason why initiatives like 106 Sport Club can arise.

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  • The store features 4 main sections (Football, Rugby, Hand-Ball and Sportswear). Football is the core component of the merchandising with almost 50 major club equipments available. A treasure chest for football lovers.

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  • The Football shoes product line is impressive. Segmented in accordance with the field surface you are playing on, you can find the very right shoes for the right use. Long gone are the days where you only have a few selection of shoes and brands to choose from. Nowadays, an amazing selection of fancy shoes is available.

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  • Rugby and hand-ball are – of course – less present but, thank to Adidas merchandising expertise, they are beautifully showcased as well.

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  • Sportswear items come with a narrow range of products. It will be interesting to see if this strategic category will grow in the future to help the store attract more customers (and not only regular players).

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  • The store layout is both elegant and efficient. Customer path is obvious and pleasant.

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  • I appreciated some design details that make a difference in a customer journey. The changing rooms immerse the customers in a major club atmosphere while suspended golden whistles provide a sporty yet chic interior decor.

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  • In the basement, 106 Sport Club has partnered with Nike to install a small synthetic pitch which purpose is to allow customers to try their football shoes, show their skills or measure the ball speed when they kick it. Great physical experience that you cannot get online.

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  • The store provides also its visitors with a printing machine to personalize jerseys.

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In conclusion, I think that 106 Sport Club is a great high-end sport concept that targets affluent and active sportsmen in search for innovation and performance. Of course, the store is still a risky bet. Its location in Paris – in a residential and rather conservative neighborhood – is not optimal. I would have also appreciated that additional international and exciting sport performance brands, such as Under Armour or BLK, be featured in the store to reinforce its overall attractivity. Adidas and Nike are ruling the game here. It comes as a trade-off for their sharp commitment to support the project.

For French retail property owners, 106 Sports Club is typically the kind of concepts that would add extra-value to urban shoppings malls, where the tenant mix often suffers from a lack of surprise and diferentiation.

If you are interested in sport retail concepts, I suggest you take a look at 3 former articles I wrote in 2016.

To read all my “embedded experience’ articles about retail, click Here.