Hardware stores and garden centers Hornbach is counting on strong profit growth in the current financial year. Profitability declined in the past year. German DIY chain expects to increase its gross profit by 30 percent in the broken financial year from March this year to March next year. The improvement must come primarily from the home market. Last year, gross profit fell by almost 20 percent to just under 135 million euros. Hornbach pulled the wallet for higher expenses to include the staff. The number of employees increased from 19,614 to more than 21,000. The group also incurred more costs to improve the physical stores and to open new branches in the Netherlands. In total, Hornbach has 158 hardware stores and garden stores in nine European countries.