Gerry Harvey pins hopes on overseas stores
The AFR reported that Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey says the retailer's once loss-making overseas stores may eventually generate as much as 50% of profits. Earnings from Harvey Norman's 89 company-owned stores in New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Slovenia and Croatia accounted for 25% of group earnings in the December half, up from 7% five years ago and 3% 10 years ago, reflecting the success of the retailer's strategy of building at least one flagship store in each market. However, gains overseas are unlikely to counter concerns about the tough outlook for Australia with shares trading at a five-year low. Harvey Norman is one of the most exposed listed retailers to the slowing housing and consumer markets, with about 30% of earnings coming from furniture and homewares and about 16% from appliances and electronics retailing in Australia.