By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: Harvey Norman Holdings Limited has today posted its annual sales results for the financial year ending 30 June 2011. While the Australian arm of the company posted a sales increase of 3.3 per cent in total sales, like for like sales were down by 2.8 per cent.

The report documents global sales from “franchised Harvey Norman complexes, commercial divisions and other sales outlets in Australia, New Zealand, Slovenia, Ireland and Northern Ireland”.

Measured in Australian dollars, global sales for stores across these countries increased by 1.7 per cent, while like for like sales fell by 3.6 per cent.

The sales report, released to the Australian Securities Exchange, noted the difficult retail conditions and tough financial climate faced by electrical and computer franchisees over the past year.

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“Electrical franchisees are operating in an extremely challenging environment accentuated by the strength of the Australian dollar,” the report read. “Price deflation in the television category has continued and has resulted in reduced revenues, however transactions continue to grow.

“The franchisees’ continued focus on white goods, cooking, home appliances and floor care has resulted in growth in these categories. Deflation will continue to dampen revenue growth in the coming year.”

“Computer franchisee sales continue to be affected by a cautious consumer and intense competition,” the report added, “However Tablets, Smart Phones, Ultrabooks, All in One Computers and new generation DSLR cameras will offer positive opportunities for growth in the year ahead.

“Harvey Norman franchisees are well positioned to continue to lead and maximise the opportunities in this market.”

In New Zealand and Ireland, total and like for like sales fell, while Slovenia and Northern Ireland experienced sales growth for the 2011 financial year.

The report also noted that “Global sales have been negatively affected by a 3.8 per cent deterioration in the New Zealand dollar, a 12.3 per cent deterioration in the Euro and a 10.0 per cent deterioration in the UK pound”.