Even the closure of stores to the general public in Austria and the Czech Republic in October and November 2020 had no noticeably negative impact on the group's quarterly figures. The reduction in sales in the regions affected was more than offset by ongoing strong growth in other regions and by the impact of purchases being brought forward or caught up after the measures were lifted. In the first nine months of the current financial year, the Hornbach Group's sales rose by 20.2 per cent to Euro 4.5031 bn.
At Hornbach Baumarkt AG, the largest operating subgroup (DIY retail) which operated a total of 161 DIY megastores with garden centres and online shops in nine European countries as of November 30, 2020, net sales grew by 20.7 per cent to Euro 4.2242 bn in the nine-month period. On a like-for-like basis and net of currency items, the DIY stores and garden centres generated sales growth of 19.5 per cent.
Net sales at the Hornbach DIY stores and online shop in Germany rose by 24.5 per cent to Euro 2.2194 bn in the first nine months of 2020/21. On a like-for-like basis, sales in Germany grew by 24.6 per cent. In the eight countries outside Germany, net sales rose by 16.7 per cent to Euro 2.0048 bn. The international share of sales therefore decreased from 49.1 per cent to 47.5 per cent. Net of currency items, like-for-like sales of the stores outside Germany increased by 14.3 per cent. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the online business gained further momentum and grew by around two thirds across the Group in the first nine months of the financial year.
The nationwide restrictions on sales in Germany (16 December 2020 to 10 January 2021), the Netherlands (15 December 2020 to 19 January 2021), Austria (26 December 2020 to at least 17 January 2021), and Slovakia (19 December 2020 to 10 January 2021) affect a total of 129 stores. At many locations, however, sales to commercial customers and tradespeople are still possible, as are the reservation and collection or delivery of reserved goods. Christmas tree sales are also still permitted in Germany and Slovakia.
Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands posted an exceptionally positive sales performance in December 2020 through to the beginning of the hard lockdown and most recently witnessed massive volumes of purchases being brought forward. Other countries also reported significantly higher customer demand during the month compared with the same period last year. Based on the conditions currently known of in the countries in which it operates, Hornbach does not expect to see any reduction in December sales despite the restrictions on sales activities.