French sports retailer Decathlon is to open its first Irish store outside of Dublin in Limerick, creating 60 new jobs.

The new outlet is to open its doors in spring of next year in the Parkway Retail Park, where the company has signed a 25 year lease with Sigma Retail Partners.

The Limerick shop will be another flagship store, similar to the existing Ballymun store which opened in June of 2020.

It will have 5,000 square metres of retail space as well as 1,500 square metres of zones where sports can be experienced.

These will include a football pitch, basketball court, indoor gym, cycling track and climbing wall, for free use by Decathlon members.

"The store will be located in a strategic commercial area with easy access from Limerick City Centre, University of Limerick and the wider residential area," said Bastien Grandgeorge, CEO of Decathlon in Ireland.

"There will also be 400 car spaces offering free parking to customers."

Recruitment for the new outlet will begin in January with the roles spread across store management, operations and ecommerce which it is expected to make up 35% of sales.

The family owned company is pledging that because of the significance of online sales, the shop will be set up so that best selling products will be delivered within 48 hours and available for click and collect within one hour.

Locals will also be given the opportunity to name the store and have a say in what products it carries.

The company has said it continues to look for suitable retail space to allow it expand into other Irish cities, including Cork, Galway Waterford and elsewhere in Dublin.

The retailer has enjoyed significant success since it opened its first Irish bricks and mortar operation in Dublin with the Ballymun store.

The Decathlon store in Ballymun in Dublin

"Despite the impacts of the Covid-19, the first 12 months of operation in Dublin was outstanding," said Mr Grandgeorge.

"We have 1,752 stores around the world and Decathlon Baile Munna was the best performing store opening worldwide in the company's 46 year history," he said.

In total the company had a turnover across all its activity in Ireland last year of €45m, with just over a quarter of those sales taking place online, representing a 57% increase on 2020.

The performance has placed Ballymun in the top ten for sales worldwide within the group and has it heading for top five this year.

In particular, sales of hiking, camping, trekking, surf and stand up paddle board equipment, as well as road cycling gear for men and women are the higher in Ireland than any other of the 1,752 Decathlon sites around the globe.

32,000 swim ponchos or changing robes have been sold since the store reopened after the third Covid-19 lockdown in May of last year, along with 30,000 backpacks.