By Patrick Avenell

Harvey Norman chairman Gerry Harvey has posted his now regular Tuesday morning notice to the ASX, reporting that the like for like downturn over the last 28 days has eased.

“Like for like written sales for the 28 days ended 16th November 2008 (sic) from the franchised “Harvey Norman” stores in Australia decreased by 0.8% when compared to the same period  last year,” wrote Harvey, who signed off with this now traditional: “Retail margins continue to be under pressure.”

This week’s announcement, although still down from last year, is a substantial improvement on last week, when Harvey reported a 2.8 per cent drop. This represents a significant increase, and Harvey Norman franchisees can believe with some justification that the like for like written sales could still move into the black during the Christmas trading period.