Harvey Norman Irish arm to ‘return to profit’ in 2016

The chief executive of the Irish arm of retailer Harvey Norman said the firm anticipates a return to profit in 2016 after years of losses.

New accounts filed for the year to the end of June last show Harvey Norman Trading (Ireland) Ltd reduced its losses to €6.2m as revenues increased by 8% to €161.3m.

Chief executive Blaine Callard said he expected the business to turn a profit next year after it “broke several sales records over the Christmas period”.

“Harvey Norman consistently stated its commitment to Ireland. And it’s our firm expectation the Irish operation will return to profit in this financial year.

“The shape of Christmas is changing with the increasing influence of Black Friday which has become a prominent sales date in the retail calendar. We broke several sales records over the Christmas period and saw significant online sales growth,” Mr Callard said.

The business’s directors said they were pleased with the results which they anticipate will improve again throughout 2016.

“The directors are satisfied with the reduction in the underlying operating loss. This result reflects the continuing trend within the Irish business of material loss reduction, this being the sixth year of loss reduction within the Irish business. The directors are confident the trend will continue,” the directors’ report reads.

Gross profit during 2015 also increased by €7.7m to €52.4m — an improvement of 17.2% — while its gross profit margin also increased to 32.5% in the year. The directors’ key focus is to continue to take measures to ensure the company capitalises on the improving economy.

“A strong focus on our omni-channel offering, growth in sales, continued strengthening of market shares, and a focus on operational efficiencies and brand awareness will maintain the path to restored profitability,” the directors’ report continued.

The company also stated it would look to optimise its cash flow through maintaining tight controls over inventory levels and costs across all parts of its business.

The company’s operating lease rentals decreased from €12.8m to €12.4m in the year.

The retailer’s staff costs increased from €24.5m to €25.9m last year as staff numbers increased by just over 30 to more than 755.


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