By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY, NSW: Harvey Norman is set to join retail rivals JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and Bing Lee by starting online trading within the next 12 months.

In quotes published today in News Limited papers, chairman Gerry Harvey said online stores, which he claim do not make money, have been adversely affecting his franchised business.

The main sticking point for Harvey Norman going online has always been its mature franchise operation, with Harvey admitting that members in this system are set to be disadvantaged by this move.

"By this time next year you'll see Harvey Norman with a pretty sizeable internet presence. My heart's beating very strongly on whether we make any money out of it," Harvey said. "I haven't got any choice. I've got to cannibalise our stores."

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What model Harvey will use has not been revealed. Similar franchisor The Good Guys rolled out online trading last year, with the owners the Muir family operating a central site for sales with consumers then picking up purchases in their nearest store.

Although Harvey Norman has been slow to react to this online revolution, Harvey said his business had been innovators for a long time prior to this.

"Harvey Norman has been the pace-setter for an awful long time. They're kicking us on the internet at the moment but there's no history of anyone making money on it. I'm not against it. I'm trying to get on at the right time."

Click here to read the full story from News Limited.