Harvey Norman Asia sales suffer during Covid-19

Australian electronics and furniture retailer Harvey Norman suffered an 18-per-cent decline in sales in its Singapore store network last year. 

While sales dropped 26.1 per cent in local currency during the second half year due to the Covid-19-related lockdown, first-half sales – described by the company as “poor” – were down as well, by 11.9 per cent. In Australian dollars, sales benefited from a 5.8 per cent appreciation in the Singaporean dollar in the period.

Harvey Norman’s 12 company-operated stores in Singapore closed on April 7 and still remain closed by government decree. The retailer has continued to trade online during the store closures, and anticipates being able to reopen offline later this month.

Meanwhile, in Malaysia the company closed its 23 stores from March 18 to April 17, in line with government requirements, and gradually reopened individual stores, starting with just the electrical and computer categories, and eventually furniture and bedding, between April 18 and May 12. Online trade resumed from April 18 for the electrical and computer categories only.

Sales were down 4.2 per cent year on year in constant local currencies for the six months to May 31, and up 6.5 per cent for the full year, thanks to a strong 15-per-cent uptick during the first half.

In Australian dollars, sales were positively affected by a 5.2-per-cent appreciation in the Malaysian Ringgit during the year.

In New Zealand, Northern Ireland, Slovenia and Croatia, where the retailer operates wholly-owned company stores, sales were down across the board.

The only outlier was Ireland, where Harvey Norman operates wholly-owned company stores and saw a significant sales increase in the second half, despite only being allowed to fully reopen stores on June 8.

Throughout the Covid-19 crisis, Harvey Norman’s Australian franchisees were allowed to keep stores open as long as they complied with social-distancing requirements. Sales were up 17.5 per cent in the second half.

  • This is an abridged version of a story which originally appeared on our sister site Inside Retail Australia

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