Global sports retailer Decathlon is taking a significant step towards sustainability with the launch of its BuyBack service across its 50 UK stores. Initially focusing on bicycles, the service will eventually expand to include kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, rackets, and fitness equipment. The initiative has been endorsed by seven-time Olympic Champion Jason Kenny and five-time Olympic Champion Laura Kenny, both of whom are renowned figures in British cycling.

The BuyBack service allows customers to return old or unused Decathlon-branded cycles in exchange for in-store credit. This move comes as new research commissioned by Decathlon reveals that over half of UK adults have unused sports equipment at home, with bicycles constituting 18% of this idle gear. Moreover, a quarter of these individuals have no intention of reselling their old sports equipment, preferring instead to store it in basements or garages.

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The research also found that 48% of parents acknowledged their children barely or only occasionally use their bikes. Parents who do upgrade their child’s bike tend to do so every two years and are unwilling to spend more than £300 on an upgrade, especially given the current cost of living crisis.

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Decathlon BuyBack service is part of the company’s broader strategy to promote a circular economy in the sports industry. Earlier this year, Decathlon launched a Rentals initiative that allows customers to rent sports equipment for as little as £10 a day.

The BuyBack process has been designed for customer convenience. Those wishing to return their old cycles can register online to receive an immediate quote and book a slot to drop off their bike at their nearest Decathlon store. Customers will receive vouchers worth up to 45% of the item’s value, which can be used to purchase new equipment. The returned items will be refurbished and resold, giving them a second life.

Since its European launch earlier this year, the BuyBack service has seen 251,000 products returned, refurbished, and resold. In Belgium, the service has been particularly successful, accounting for over 40% of sales.

Chris Allen, Sustainability Leader at Decathlon UK, commented, “With the cost of living still continuing to impact sport and fitness participation across the UK, at Decathlon we are determined to ensure that sport participation continues and is not affected by the rising cost of goods. BuyBack will allow customers to return their old and unwanted sporting equipment for store credit to use on refreshing their kit.”

Jason Kenny and Dame Laura Kenny added, “Decathlon’s BuyBack service is an absolute game-changer for a cycling-loving family like ours! Kids, as we all know, have a knack for outgrowing their bikes faster than we can blink. This new initiative from Decathlon not only keeps the whole family active but also works wonders for your wallet and our planet, what’s not to love? So if you’ve got an old bike hiding in your shed, wheel it over to your nearest Decathlon store now to get one you can actually ride!”

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