Mass merchant retailers will find it almost impossible to shift Harvey Norman from its computer sales dominance after details of recent successes and future growth plans were revealed. Following a spree of buying and opening new stores last year, there are plans for at least 14 more in the first three quarters of this year.
However, not even these new stores will sate Harvey Norman's need for expansion, according to Tony Gattari, the retailing giant's general manager of computers and communications.
"We've got a long way to go," Gattari said. "The way we view the world at the moment is that there is the potential for a store if it can draw from 50,000 people or more."
Gattari also revealed the huge success of South Australia's first Harvey Norman superstore at Marion which took $100,000 on day one of a recent "Software Sale" promotion. A second Adelaide store, in Enfield, is scheduled to open in July.
As well as new locations, regional retail stores acquired in Western Australia and Tasmania have been rebadged and are rolling out computer divisions.
"So far we have opened up computer sections in Kalgoorlie, Albany and Bunbury with great success and are still to launch in Busselton, Port Hedland, Geraldton and Karratha," Gattari said.
Completing the western attack are large new stores opening in Fremantle (March) and Perth suburb Rockingham (April).
Other big stores will open this year in Sydney (Liverpool) in March, Newcastle in April, Noosa "in the second half of 1999", Brisbane (Everton Park) in July, and Darwin in September. But that's not all.
"We also have the introduction of computer sections to all of the Joyce Mayne chain acquired last year," Gattari added. "This is a very interesting year for Harvey Norman and we have lots of plans in lots of areas that should keep the ball rolling."