Harvey Norman bucks trend with sales growth

The Irish arm of Australian-owned retailer Harvey Norman has reported a 3.9% year-on-year increase in first-half sales.

While Ireland has long been a tough market for the company, with the local arm traditionally loss-making, it has been edging closer to profitability over the past couple of years.

In its last full-year figures — marking the 12 months to the end of last June — Harvey Norman Ireland recorded a loss of €22.3m, which represented a significant 9.1% annual narrowing of losses.

Figures issued yesterday covering the six months to the end of December show that like-for-like sales (excluding stores opened after the corresponding period in the previous year) rose by 8.7%.

Chief executive Blaine Callard called the figures “very encouraging”.

“Increased market share is the primary driver of this growth; quite simply more people are choosing to shop with us,” he said.

“The pie is not growing, we are just getting a larger share. Slowly, we are seeing some very early signs of a recovery in consumer confidence, more people are researching and looking at larger items than a year ago.”

Harvey Norman Holdings — the retailer’s Australian holding company — noted, in its half-year review, that the Irish business has shown a “solid period of improvement”, adding that it expects this to continue.

“Our ‘customer first’ strategy has us in a strong position with Irish consumers and we have positive expectations of ongoing improvement in the Ireland results,” head office added.

The company employs more than 700 people across 13 stores in Ireland, and recently prided itself on being one of the few major retailers in the Irish market to have expanded in the past 12 months.

Last November, the company opened its newest furniture and bedding showroom at Dublin’s Blanchardstown Retail Park, creating 15 full-time jobs.


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