Rallye Group will guarantee a €30M ($40mm) capital raise for its Groupe Go Sport unit in the second quarter to accelerate its expansion. Groupe Go Sport now operates 347 full-line sporting goods and footwear stores in France and Poland and is France’s second largest sporting goods retailer after Decathlon. Last week, Groupe Go Sport reported a 7.6 percent increase in comp-store sales in the first quarter ended March 31 in currency neutral terms.

Net Sales reached €167.6m ($220mm), up 6.2 percent in currency neutral terms. Same-store sales for the Go Sport banner increased both in France (+6.7%) and in Poland (+9.3%), thanks to a resumption in growth of seasonal goods and the performance of the stores remodeled in 2011. Same-store sales growth at Courir running stores accelerated to 9.7% for Q1 2012 after an increase of 8.9% for all of 2011, validating the banner’s new concept.

As of March 31, 2012, Groupe Go Sport’s system included 175 Go Sport stores, including 32 franchisees; and 172 Courir stores, including 13 franchisees. Go Sport carries a full line of sporting goods while Courir specializes in athletic and action sports footwear. The stores carry such U.S. brands as Columbia, Converse, DC Shoes, Merrell, New Balance, Nike, Timberland and Vans.

Rallye Group has a controlling interest in several retailing businesses, including Casino, which operates convenience stores and hypermarkets in France, South America and Asia. Rallye Group reported sales of €8.74 billion ($11bb) for the first quarter.