By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Following on from Harvey Norman’s announcement today of a 9 per cent increase in profits for the 2010-11 financial year, the company has announced its plans for the year ahead, including the launch of an e-commerce site in early October 2011 as well as a new software on demand service.

In a statement released to the Australian Securities Exchange, Harvey Norman said it was maintaining a cautious outlook for 2011-12 “due to global volatility, increased utility costs, possible increase in unemployment numbers…dampened housing markets and weak equity markets.”

Despite this, the company said it had plans for expansion in both its online and bricks-and-mortar offerings.

“The most significant addition to our business in the first half of FY12 will be the launching of our e-commerce site for Harvey Norman in early October 2011,” said a Harvey Norman spokesperson.

“Using market intelligence we have already gained from our successful photo-finishing and Domayne sites, we are confident our on-line transactional strategy will produce incremental dollars to the existing channel.

“Added to this, we will be pioneering a ‘software on demand’ multi-channel offer as an extension to our successful photo-finishing business.”

The company was also predicting a boost in retail sales in the AV category, thanks to upcoming sporting events.

“We look forward to the Rugby World Cup enhancing the television category and of course in the second half of the upcoming financial year the world will be gearing up for the biggest ever Olympics in London which is always good for our AV/IT business,” the spokesperson said.

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In addition to retail projections for the upcoming year, Harvey Norman also outlined prospects for other areas of its portfolio, including its property strategy.

“On the property side, our 72,000 square-metre Springvale, Victoria homemaker centre is on track to open in October this year. This will be the largest homemaker centre in Australia and is anchored by Harvey Norman and Ikea.”

The complex, which will be located on “one of Melbourne’s major arterial carriageways”, is set to accommodate Harvey Norman, Domayne and Ikea shopfronts as well as 25 other retail tenancies, making it the largest development of its kind in Australia. In addition to the Springvale centre, Harvey Norman has begun construction on a 32,600 square-metre development in Maroochydore, Queensland.

News of the company’s expansion follows on from the announcement early in the month that Harvey Norman would be closing or rebranding 25 failing Clive Peeters and Rick Hart stores across Australia.

“The conversion of most of the Clive Peeters and Rick Hart stores to Harvey Norman and Joyce Mayne should result in an overall benefit to the consolidated entity,” the spokesperson said today.

Click here to read about the categories Harvey Norman is predicting for future growth.

Click here for new on how much the Clive Peeters/Rick Hart acquisition cost Harvey Norman.