Paris-based electrical distributor Rexel reported sales for 2008 were down 0.8% on a constant and same-day basis. Actual sales growth, including acquisitions, was up 20.2%. Including acquisitions, profits for the year was up 61%.
The distributor reported that sales in the fourth quarter fell 6.7%; the drop in copper-based cables prices accounted for about one-third of the decline.
In the fourth quarter, Rexel recorded a net loss.
In 2008, Rexel completed its acquisition of Hagemeyer's European business.
Outlook Rexel said it expects a "marked drop" in 2009 sales, due to volume declines and the lower copper price.
The distributor says it has started a "cost-saving plan" of at least €110 million (US$141 million). Further details were not provided in the earnings release.
It also plans to focus on what it called fast-growing segments, including energy efficiency, public projects and key accounts.