Harvey Norman has reported second half sales in Australia were up 17.5 per cent, but its overseas stores’ trade has slumped after many closed due to COVID-19.

The electrical and furniture retailer said the second half sales increase for Aussie franchisees was based on figures to May 31.

The progress result is a subsantial increase on the 0.1 per cent sales rise for the first half of the financial year, although many experts have warned the deepest economic impact of the pandemic could still be to come.

While two stores in Tasmania were Harvey’s only ones in Australia to close briefly, temporary closures were more common overseas.

Harvey Norman stores in New Zealand, Malaysia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Slovenia and Croatia were closed for longer periods due to government requirements.

The 12 stores in Singapore are yet to re-open.

The Singapore stores have suffered a 21.7 per cent sales decline in the second half to May 31, based on Australian dollars.

Sales at the 39 New Zealand stores have dipped by 7.3 per cent, while the six stores across Croatia and Slovenia have had a 5.5 per cent sales drop.

The 23 stores in Malaysia have recorded a 1.3 per cent sales increase, while the 13 stores in Ireland achieved a 25.4 per cent sales boost.

The sole store in Northern Ireland had sales drop by 38.2 per cent.

The company also said it would pay a fully franked special dividend of six cents per share, to shareholders.

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