Schuitema, the Dutch retailer, today (21 April) posted a drop in net sales for the 2008 financial year.

Total sales fell 3.5% to EUR3.18bn (EUR$4.12bn) from EUR3.3bn in 2007, impacted by store closures, divestments and tougher market conditions.

Operating profit fell 45.4% year-on-year to EUR32.8m, although net profit increased five-fold to reach EUR194.4m, including gains from the transaction of stores to Ahold.

The company’s C1000 stores posted a 1.7% drop in turnover to EUR4.01bn. Since 2007 the company has closed 69 stores. It now owns 374.

Tonn van de Laar, CEO of Schuitema, said: “If we draw up the balance of 2008, the negative impact on the company as a result of the divestiture of 69 stores was in line with expectations.

The company said it has a “healthy” balance, giving it opportunities in the current economy to “invest in market and infrastructure”.