Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey told Appliance Retailer this afternoon that he has not ruled out purchasing Officeworks and believes Coles sites would have to be five times larger to attract the world’s largest retailer, Walmart.

Coles shares have been boosted in recent days following rumours that Walmart executives are in Melbourne and are in the advanced stages of making a bid for the Australian retailer.

Among the rumours are that Walmart proposes to purchase the Coles grocery business including the strategically significant Kmart business as well as the liquor chains – Vintage Cellars and Liquorland. The Target business is said to interest Coles shareholder and former board member, Solomon Lew, while Officeworks is likely to be sold to the most enthusiastic bidder.

Harvey told Appliance Retailer that any speculation the world’s largest retailer might want to set up in Australia is hard to believe.

“Coles is just not their model. Walmart is a big shed selling food and just about everything else. Coles is Coles. Walmart would need to multiply the Coles sites about five times,” Harvey said.

While he concedes anything is possible, he thinks this scenario is unlikely.

Responding to the proposal that Harvey Norman would be a possible buyer for the Coles Officeworks chain if there was a breakup of the group’s assets Harvey said today: “If it came up we would look at it seriously,” adding “this will happen sooner or later.”

Last week the Coles board rejected a $A17.3 billion offer led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.