Currency movements positively affect global sales.
The 5.5% appreciation in the Euro and 16.1% appreciation in the UK pound, combined with a strong Australian housing market, pushed up Harvey Norman global sales, excluding Singapore, by 8% to $3.33 billion for the six months ended 31 December, 2015. Like-for-like sales saw a 8.7% rise when compared to the previous corresponding period. Net profit after tax was up 30.7% to $185.51 million.
Northern Ireland was the star performer for the group with a sales increase of 35.5%, followed by Ireland with a 18.9% increase. Australia reported an increase of 7.7%, while New Zealand saw a 6.3% increase and Slovenia/Croatia experienced a 5% rise in sales.
Australian franchisees have recorded three years of like-for-like sale sales growth since January 2013. Sales revenue increased 7.7% or $193.76 million, to $2.72 billion.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) Harvey Norman chairman, Gerry Harvey said, “Harvey Norman is a homemaker, lifestyle and connected home retail concept and the appeal and strong positioning of the franchise offering is apparent in these results today. Our brands continue to focus on providing customers with the right products in the right environment whether that be in-store or online, and to deliver a seamless experience.”
Homemaker categories benefitted from the strong Australian housing market in 2015 with house prices and building approvals reaching record levels. Coupled with cheaper petrol prices, low interest rates and increased household wealth remain supportive of property investment and household and lifestyle consumption. Harvey Norman, with its flexible property model and large store footprints is well-placed to capitalise on these trends and to capture demand.
“We anticipate robust construction and housing activity to continue this year, in response to pent-up demand, and particularly in NSW, VIC and ACT, dwelling starts are materially above long term averages,” Harvey added.
Two Harvey Norman and one Joyce Mayne franchised complexes in Australia were closed and once company operated store in Northern Ireland was opened.