Gerry Harvey predicts strong spending will continue into 08

By Chris Nicholls

SYDNEY: Gerry Harvey has predicted retail spending will remain strong this year, despite possible further interest rate rises and increasing petrol costs.

In an interview with Current.com.au today, Harvey said while predictions were “a bit of a dicey thing at the moment”, due to current sharemarket troubles, he felt “everything up there in the marketplace is very strong.”

“If you looked at all the things we’re doing on a day-to-day basis and what’s happening in employment and the economy, you’d say ‘What’s going on?’. It seems very strong.”

When questioned on his optimism, he said he saw nothing that suggested a downturn.

“Well, there’s nothing that suggests that it [the marketplace] won’t be [strong]. And if the only thing is that the share market’s down, I don’t see that’s going to make any difference.

“Most people haven’t got shares. The share market drops. It’s like petrol – if you haven’t got a motor car and the price doubles, I mean, who cares?”

He said while rising interest rates and petrol prices should be having a negative effect, only a third of Australians were paying off a mortgage, while another third rented and the final third already owned their own homes.

“When you’re talking about people with their mortgage payments up, you’re talking about 33 per cent of the population, not the population.”

Tax cuts this year and wage increases would also negate much of the pain Australians would face, he said.

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