Electricals retailer Maplin suffered a sharp fall in multichannel sales last year, in stark contrast to its rivals.

While competitors such as DSGi, Kesa and Argos all reported rising online sales, Maplin’s internet turnover slid 7.9% in the year to December 26, 2009, accounts filed at Companies House showed. In 2008 they rose 8%.

Similarly, Maplin’s mail order sales declined by 11.6% versus a 9.2% increase the year before.

Maplin, which was bought in 2004 by Montagu Private Equity in a £256m deal, attributed the online slowdown to tougher competition and said it has a “strategy of ongoing improvement” in place.

It said the mail order revenue fall resulted from “the recession and the gradual shift in the way people choose to shop”. The weaker performance was partially offset by a rise in the average transaction value.

Overall, Maplin said it had turned in a “reasonable” performance last year in difficult trading circumstances. EBITDA rose 10.8% to £40.5m on sales flat at £203.7m, helped by a “focus on delivering better customer solutions and driving operational efficiencies via strong cost control”.

Total store sales rose 1.1%, compared with 14.6% in 2008. Like-for-likes slumped 5% after a 2.3% advance in 2008. This year Maplin, which has 172 stores, intends to open 11 shops but warned it would “revisit” that ambition if the downturn became “much more severe and for a very prolonged period.”

The retailer added that risks of interest increases and exchange rate fluctuations have been mitigated by its hedging strategies.

No further comment was available from Maplin.