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Tracking success in eastern Europe

The Austrian DIY store operator increased its sales by 6 per cent last year to € 1.16 bn, thus extending its market leadership in the DIY sector in central and south-eastern Europe.
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Baumax increased its sales in Austria alone by 4.5 per cent to € 575 mio. By the end of 2006, its retail area came to 766 000 m2 – an increase of 3.1 per cent, which is attributable to the opening of new stores in Romania, for example, as well as the expansion of existing locations. Around 17.5 mio payment transactions were registered in the stores during 2006. This is equivalent, Baumax says, to every Austrian household making purchases at Baumax on more than four occasions last year. The number of paying customers also rose last year by 2 per cent to 37.6 mio. The Baumax management puts this down to the continuous expansion of its outlets in Austria. In spring 2006, a new store was opened in Vienna 23, while the stores in Rankweil, Klosterneuburg and Wiener Neustadt were revamped and expanded. Plans are in hand for the reorganisation/extension of three stores this coming year: the stores in Vienna 17 and Villach Süd are to be enlarged, while a new store is scheduled to open in the spring in Wels. A branch in Dornbirn has also been announced for the start of 2008. Sales have developed at very different rates in the individual countries: like the preceding year, fiscal 2006 was marked by consistent, dynamic growth in the Czech Republic. With 23 stores, Czechia is Baumax's biggest foreign market, where sales have risen by 10 per cent to € 230 mio. Two new stores are planned for Prague in the next few years. In Slovakia, sales increased by a massive 30 per cent to € 130 mio. The opening of a new store in Trencin will bring the number of outlets there to 12. In Hungary, Baumax recorded growth of 3.6 per cent to € 145 mio. Two new outlets are expected to open there this year, in Sopron and in Györ, increasing the company’s network of branches to 16. Although Baumax considers that the market in Slovenia continues to exhibit high growth dynamics, sales remained at the level of the previous year, € 30 mio. Baumax believes the reason for this lies in the expansion of its competitors’ store networks. The Baumax store in Celje is being relocated to a new site. Sales in Croatia were also pegged back to the previous year's level, but this was attributed to delays in the approval procedure for planned store openings that had to be postponed to 2007. New openings in Split and Karlovac bring the number of stores there to five. In Romania, the first two stores were opened in Brasov and Sibiu, and sales of € 10 mio…
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