The outspoken Gerry Harvey is going nowhere any time soon, his wife and company CEO Katie Page said today.
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|Harvey’s stalwarts: Katie Page and Gerry Harvey at Gold Coast Magic Millions VIP launch night. Image: Magic Millions|
“Gerry has no plans to retire,” Page told The Australian in an interview published today.
The 72 year old Chair of Harvey Norman is “as vibrant today as he was 30 to 40 years ago,” she added.
“We are a team — better to have two people than ones” says Page, who has a net worth of $50.8 million, according to the BRW 2011 Rich List.
With regards the retailer’s expansion plans locally, which the famously cantankerous Mr Harvey claimed last week were dead in the water, Page indicated a “sit tight” strategy for the first six months of 2012, domestically.
However, further afield, Harvey indicated plans were afoot to expand aggressively in South East Asian market, and open ten new retail stores in Malaysia, where it already has a presence.
Page confirmed her husband’s earlier comments, saying the market there was a hotbed for growth, although indicated expansion elsewhere in the (Asian) continent was also on the cards.
“With a population of 28 million and growing at about 4.5 per cent annually, there will be a lot of people needing to buy furniture, whitegoods, computers,” Harvey’s CEO declared.
However, she ruled out expansion of the electronics empire into the enormous China or Indian markets, saying the risk would be too great.
Locally, the first half of the year will be tough but hoped fortunes for the second half of the year would fare better. Harvey’s has been in serious trouble here of late, with record lows on share prices and store closures being the order of 2011.
Page also rehashed Gerry’s now infamous GST argument, saying the company who avoided e-commerce until late last year, was treated like “Luddites” for not joining the online revolution.
Page also lashed out at international online e-tailers, criticising their lack of contribution to the Australian economy and the Gillard government’s failure to close the tax “loophole.”
“The retail industry employs 1.2 million people — it is the biggest employer outside the public service. Yet we are treated badly. We are viewed as Luddites as we have not embraced online shopping.”