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Despite COVID-19 Lockdowns Harvey Norman To Open New Stores

Harvey Norman is using the COVID-19 epidemic to open new stores in an expansion of their International operation.

The new stores are in Ireland where the Australian Company already has 15 stores, the operation made a small profit of $180,000 on sales of $336 million for the year to the end of June 2018, according to the most recent set of financial statements filed in Ireland.

Located in Galway and Sligo, the new Galway store will be among the largest in Harvey Norman’s Irish empire, which currently comprises 13 outlets in the Republic of Ireland, including five in Dublin, and two stores in Belfast which is in Northern Ireland.

The chain, whose Irish sales boomed during lockdown, will open a new large format 60,000sq ft split-level store on the outskirts of Galway on July 22nd, that will employ up to 50 staff.

The shop will also house an 80-seat cafe operated on a concession basis by a Northern Ireland franchisee Synge & Byrne.

Peter Hearn, the chief executive of Harvey Norman Ireland, said it has been trying to get the right site in Galway for more than a decade, and that the current project there has been in train for two years.

The Galway store was due to open in April, but this date was abandoned due to the coronavirus lockdown. As soon as workers were allowed back on-site from May 18th, it pushed for a July opening.

Mr Hearn took over Harvey Norman Ireland from Blaine Callard for his second stint here , after originally bringing the chain to Ireland back in 2003 for its Australian-listed parent group. He said the chain remains “committed” to expansion in Ireland, despite the pandemic.

When asked about what people were spending money on, he said “They’re spending money on their homes, the little creature comforts like new sofas and televisions. They’re also investing in home office furniture and new devices so they can work from home,” he said.

In a recent trading statement delivered to the Australian stock market, it said its Irish sales were up 25 per cent in its half year to the end of May.

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