French retail giant Auchan today (17 February) admitted that sales at its domestic hypermarkets fell by almost 2% during 2009.

Auchan said like-for-like sales at the stores dropped 1.9% last year, reflecting similar figures from other France's retailers, which have seen hypermarket sales struggle during the downturn.

A spokesman for Auchan said price deflation for non-food items and consumers buying cheaper food had hit the company's sales.

"The main reason for the decrease in sales of the hypermarkets in France is the fall of the average price of the products sold in our stores. It is due to the deflation of the prices of some high-tech products - TVs for example - and to the choice of the consumers to buy less expensive food products," the spokesman told just-food.

Auchan declined to comment further on its performance in 2009 and said it would publish its full financial results for France and overseas on 14 April.