Mass Retailer Gerry Harvey has moved to compete head on against EB Games and JB Hi Fi along with his own franchisees by launching a direct import Harvey Norman games web site.
The Chairman of Harvey Norman claims that he has been planning the site for 12 months, despite launching three days out from Xmas with little chance of consumers using the site to order games in time for Xmas.
The controversial retailer claims consumers will get cheaper prices than what his franchised store network can sell the games for and that the games will be free of GST.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 for Xbox 360 will be $35 cheaper on the new website than at EB Games, for example. Similarly, Batman: Arkham City will be $20 cheaper. Shipping will be charged at a flat fee of $3.95 per game and no GST will be charged for orders under $1000.
Harvey said that the company will source the games from overseas suppliers as opposed to vendors in Australia. The move could be a blow to the local operations of both Microsoft and Sony. It is not known whether Harvey Norman will guarantee the games.
Gerry Harvey said the company had moved to open the site after the Australian Productivity Commission announced it would take a further six months to investigate adding GST to overseas purchases.
“If people want to buy games in stores they can but they will be paying much higher prices,” he said.
“We’re not doing this with a great deal of joy. We’ve been able to do this for a long time and we’ve held off and held off but you get to a stage where you just can’t hold off any more.”
Mr Harvey said the company was considering offering the direct importation of other goods in future and “we’ll let you know soon”.