A UK investor web site has slammed Gerry Harvey over his attitude to online however ChannelNews can reveal that the retailer is set to roll out a new online operation in the New Year and is currently involved in development of a major online operation.
CN understands that a deal has been worked out with franchisees over territory and payments from online sales.
UK investor web site Bitter Wallet said, “In Australia they do things differently. North is hot, south is cold, Barbies are something to cook on and online retail is nothing but an elaborate con,” in a direct dig at Harvey Norman Chairman Gerry Harvey.
They go on to say, “We’re guessing Gerry hasn’t even cracked those AOL Online floppies he got in the post 10 years ago. Maybe he hasn’t quite worked out the dial-up on his Pentium 75 so he wasn’t able to get online and check out the $10.37 billion sales in the UK alone during November”.
Recently during an interview with SmartCompany Harvey said “The whole world was conned with online retailing. People say I’m a dinosaur, and I’ve had people coming to me with sites and saying, ‘Oh, look at this, they have 10,000 or 20,000 hits!’ – but it’s a con, a complete con.”
The web site also point out Harvey Norman chalked up a classic quarterly performance with a -31.5% loss in pre-tax profit with their shares falling 13% on the 25th November in the biggest one-day fall in over 20 years.
They conclude, “It’s a big desert out there in Aussie land with a lot of sand to stick your head into”.
Maybe ChannelNews should take a bet on which economy performs best next year the UK or OZ.
Yesterday Gerry Harvey said that he was surprised by a jump in its most recent sales data, which suggest the government’s $10.4 billion stimulus package is starting to have an effect.
The retailer reported a 4.5 per cent rise on year in like-for-like written sales for the 28 days to December 14 – the third consecutive week of rising sales.
The jump follows 1.2 per cent and 0.5 per cent increases in the previous two weeks after sustained weakness through October and early November.
“I thought if we’d gone up or down 1.5 per cent that would’ve been good, so to be up 4.5 per cent, I must say I’m a bit surprised,” Mr Harvey told Dow Jones Newswires in an interview. “On that basis, Christmas is looking pretty good.”
However, he did admit that retail margins continue to be under pressure. Many retailers have brought forward Christmas sales to stimulate spending ahead of what is expected to be the toughest December trade in several years.
Mr Harvey confirmed the group plans to close five to 10 stores next year, but played down the significance of the move, saying it wasn’t necessarily indicative of the broader economic downturn.