Irish operations ‘terrible’, Harvey Norman says

26 Feb 2010

The chairman of Australian electronics retailer Harvey Norman has described the plight of the group’s operations in Ireland as “terrible”, but the company has said it is committed to its Irish stores.

Harvey Norman’s executive chairman Gerry Harvey made the comment during an interview with Bloomberg TV today.

“It’s terrible, we’ve got a situation where we are losing a lot of money in Ireland and it’s not improving,” Harvey said. “I’m not counting on it improving; I’m counting on it staying as bad as it is and hoping and praying it gets bit better.”

The electronics retailer said today it had reduced pre-tax losses at its Irish operations somewhat during the first half of its financial year ended 31 December to AUS$17 million. This was down from the AUS$19.8-million loss reported during the same period a year previous.

No major improvement expected
Harvey Norman said it did not expect a major improvement in Ireland in the near future, where it operates 14 stores.

“There has been some positive turnover growth in local currency in recent months, but this is coming off an extremely low base in the previous corresponding period. Ireland continues to incur large trading losses resulting in a requirement to perform a further review of the recoverable amount of plant and equipment assets,” the retailer said.

However, the group reaffirmed its commitment to its Irish stores today, saying it has established “strong roots” in the Irish market: “The Harvey Norman brand is well-known in Ireland and is respected by both suppliers and customers. Harvey Norman currently employs more than 800 Irish staff. We are committed to Ireland for the long-term.”

In contrast, Harvey Norman said today that its overall group pre-tax earnings rose 47pc to AUS$237.8 million during its first-half, compared to profits of AUS$161.96 million reported a year earlier.

Harvey Norman operates 265 stores across Australia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Ireland and Singapore.

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