“The poor performance in 2009 is largely attributable to the massive devaluation of the leu against the single European currency, a devaluation that exceeded 15% last year”, the retailer said in a press release.

In local currency, the retailer’s revenues dropped 3% in 2009, to 1.091 billion lei from 1.125 billion lei a year earlier.

Praktiker’s net sales in Romania totaled 1.05 billion lei, 2.6% down from 1.08 billion lei a year earlier.

According to Praktiker, consumption and do-it-yourself market shrank 25-30%.

“The decline in consumption caused by the economic crisis has led to a sharp drop in DIY market. The impact on our turnover was by far below the market average. In 2010 our priority will remain the consolidation plans, particularly in our existent network, while keeping a selective approach to expansion opportunities that may open up, in line with current market conditions”, said Monica Hodor, interim managing director of Praktiker Romania.

Praktiker’s global sales totaled €3.67 billion, 6.2% below year-ago levels, while EBITDA came in at €62.8 million. “Even though EBITDA came in half the size of 2008 level, the management of the company managed to contain it within the target range. In 2009, Praktiker’s liquid funds rose to €263 million, the indicator and EBITDA being the group’s central focuses of last year”, Hodor added.

Countries like Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the Ukraine were particularly hard hit by recession and currency effects. In addition, there were also the effects of the escalating debt crisis in Greece towards the end of the year – a country that for many years has been generating the highest contributions to earnings in Praktiker’s International segment.

In Poland and Turkey, sales only receded slightly in 2009.

Praktiker’s network in Romania comprises 26 outlets across the country: Bucharest (3 units), Cluj-Napoca, Ploiesti, Brasov, Bacau, Timisoara (2 units), Oradea, Constanta, Craiova, Tirgu-Mures, Arad, Satu Mare, Braila, Baia Mare, Iasi (2 units), Galati, Targoviste, Deva, Pitesti, Buzau, Piatra Neamt and Focsani.