By Patrick Avenell

SYDNEY: Gerry Harvey has written to the ASX stating that Harvey Norman delivered sales for the first quarter of FY09 totaled $1.44 billion – an increase of 3 per cent on last year.

These sales include all Harvey Norman franchises in Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and Slovenia, but not Singapore.

Furthermore, like for like delivered sales, for the three months ending 30 September were up 1.3 per cent.

Harvey also provided current guidance for those monitoring the retail economic climate, stating that like for like written sales for the 28 days up to 12 October for the franchised stores in Australia was down 4.7 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Harvey will continue to notify the ASX of like for like sales comparisons for the next four weeks – each time focusing on the preceding 28 days.

“By doing this, the company [Harvey Norman Holdings Limited] hopes to give guidance as to what is really happening out in the retail market,” wrote Harvey to the ASX. “There are Harvey Norman franchised stores in every state and town of any significance in Australia. Sales turnover for the franchised “Harvey Norman” [his quotation marks] stores in Australia indicative of retail market conditions.”

Harvey Norman has been at the vanguard of continued progress reporting to the ASX, and JB Hi-Fi has also been proactive. Pressure is now mounting on Clive Peeters, and other listed retail outlets, to begin posting guidance notices to the ASX.

Harvey Norman was trading at $2.64, up six cents, just before 2pm this afternoon.