JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman Vulnerable From Online Trading, Warns Analyst

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Retailers including JB Hi-Fi and Harvey Norman are set to make major financial losses as the growth of online rivals continues, warns Morgan Stanley.The ASX listed electronic giants are vulnerable to major market share as growth in online shopping gains pace together with the continued unprecedented strength of the Aussie dollar, which makes international goods purchased online much cheaper, says analysts at Morgan Stanley.
 
“We estimate that if by full-year 2015 Australian online retail penetration reaches the current US level, then internet retailing could take 22 per cent of the incremental growth in Australian retail sales,” said analyst Thomas Kierath, in an interview with the Australian. 

Internet-based retailers will also pose a major threat to small retailers, according to Ed Prendergast of Pengana Capital, although, forecasts elsewhere from IBISWorld suggest only modest growth in online retailers’ market share in the next five years.

Earlier this week, Smarthouse.com reported on how Harvey Norman Chairman, Gerry Harvey, confirmed he was planning to start selling into Australia from web sites operated from Southern China, hot on the heels of an earlier announcement by retailer Myer some days previously.

“I spoke to our online man this morning, and I said why can’t we do that? And he said there is no reason we can’t do that at all,’ said Gerry Harvey.

This follows frustration expressed by both organisations with the tax-free and duty-free prices offered by overseas competitors and inaction by the federal government.

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