By Patrick Avenell

After years of negativity directed at Harvey Norman’s international operations, specifically those in Europe, there are now signs of recovery and growth, according to company documents.

Harvey Norman’s ventures in Europe, particularly its network of stores in Ireland and Northern Ireland (UK), has been the subject of substantial criticism due to significant losses, some upwards of $40 million, incurred by the businesses.

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There is improvement, however, Harvey Norman says, which should be realised soon.

“Our Irish business has improved and we expect this to continue in the year ahead within this challenged economy,” reads the Harvey Norman document. “We have a strong position with both Irish consumers and suppliers that is supporting the ongoing improvements to this business.”

Meanwhile, Harvey Norman is strengthening its Balkan business with the opening of its first Croatian store. Harvey Norman currently operates a small chain of stores in neighbouring Slovenia.

In welcome news for investors, Harvey Norman’s flagship Christchurch store, in New Zealand, is set to reopen by the end of 2012.