Retail giant Harvey Norman has recorded a consolidated profit for the second half of 1997 of $43.64 million, a 50 per cent increase from the same period of a year earlier. Although the exact figures of computer technology sales' contribution are not available, it is understood that computer sales account for 29 per cent of overall company figures which would put the profit at an estimated $12.5 million.
Tony Gattari, Harvey Norman's computer group controller, has seen strong trends emerge around inexpensive PCs, digital cameras and peripherals in that timeframe. The introduction of budget PCs was encouraging, while expansive growth of digital cameras was also evident. According to Gattari, the most prominent developments occurred in the fields of scanners and printers, where dramatic price reductions saw large shipments made.
"We saw great sales of scanners," he said. "And we sold a lot of printers - mainly due to some ridiculously low prices."
In the coming year, Gattari predicts Intel will encounter a price war with other chip manufacturers and customers will benefit from cheaper PCs. He also predicts continued growth in printers, scanners and digital cameras, while the emergence of WebTV will also prove profitable.