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Harvey Norman sales suffer in Asia, global profit explodes

Australian department store Harvey Norman has seen its unaudited profit explode 160 per cent between July and October to $250 million, compared to $96 million for the same period of last year.

Additionally, aggregated sales jumped 28.2 per cent between July and November, with all regions barring Singapore and Malaysia showing sales growth for the period, which fell 2 per cent and 4.7 per cent respectively.

While Malaysia’s lockdown has ended, the extension of the Recovery Movement Control Order to the end of the year has restricted customer movements and shortened trading hours, impacting instore sales.

Australian stores saw sales growth of 30.4 per cent for the six months, though this doesn’t take into account the relevant impact of store closures across Victoria and South Australia.

Likewise, New Zealand saw an increase of 20.4 per cent in local currency for the period, though this also lacks the impact of store closures in Auckland.

The most impressive gain was seen in Ireland, however, which saw aggregated comparable sales jump 52.7 per cent for the period.

The result follows a period of growth for the entire homewares sector, with mandated lockdowns forcing customers to spend more time in their homes and feeling the itch to redecorate. Executive chairman Gerry Harvey noted the opportunity early on in the Covid-19 pandemic, and was later forced to clarify that he didn’t intend to downplay the health risks.

“Now, everyone thinks I’m this callous old bastard out making a profit on other people’s misery … but believe me, that was not my intention,” Harvey told The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

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