Harvey Norman is embarking on a $30 million expansion of its computer superstore network despite flat sales in the first few months of the financial year.
Starting this month, Harvey Norman will open the first of a dozen new stores planned for five Australian States and New Zealand in the next year. The retailing giant's intentions were outlined by managing director Michael Harvey to 21 top suppliers attending the retailer's annual computer conference at this Queensland resort.
According to Harvey, the company will spend about $10 million on the roll-out of new superstores in Queensland. First off the mark will be outlets in the Brisbane suburb of Oxley and the regional centre of Mackay. Another two are slated to open during the first half of next year in the Brisbane locale of Aspley and Toowoomba, a country centre about 100km west of Brisbane.
Adding to its 33 New South Wales stores, Harvey Norman will open a new superstore in Liverpool and perform a major facelift on its existing outlet in Wiley Park, Harvey said. In Victoria, the company will add a superstore in Preston, bringing to five the number in the Melbourne area. There are plans to open other superstores in country centres such as Mildura.
Two superstores are scheduled for Perth, two for Adelaide and Harvey Norman will jump the Tasman next year with an initial four superstores in Auckland. All up, it may open a total of 12 in New Zealand, Harvey Norman group controller Tony Gattari told Australian Reseller News.
Harvey's expansionist mood could change if the industry's sales tax rorts aren't brought under control (see accompanying story on page 8). That caveat aside, Harvey Norman believes market trends underpinning computer sales remain strongly positive, Gattari said.
The retail group's computer division generated revenues of $331 million last financial year, Gattari said. Performance dropped off at the start of this financial year. "We still made money, but it hasn't been as profitable," he said.