Harvey Norman Boss Responds To ChannelNews POCO Story & The Good Guys Muir Family Feud
Harvey Norman who has been telling some suppliers that they are “overstocked” and will not be placing orders for new stock until July has dismissed a potential threat from the Steinhoff owned POCO stores.
Chairman Gerry Harvey who was responding to our exclusive story yesterday that revealed that Steinhoff International is looking to open 45 new POCO stores in Australia, after running the ruler over The Good Guys, has told the AFR “I don’t think Harvey Norman would see it as opposition – it’s a different sort of store altogether,” Mr Harvey told Fairfax Media.
Gerry Harvey also admitted, as ChannelNews revealed last week, that that he was never offered an information memorandum to bid for The Good Guys despite his arch rival JB Hi Fi being invited to bid.
Harvey had initially said that he might be interested in bidding for The Good Guys if the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission gave him the okay to bid.
However, Mr Harvey said he had not been sent an information memorandum – “I knew nothing about it until the other day” – and confirmed reports that a long-standing feud between the two companies would probably preclude a deal.
“Ian Muir used to be a friend of mine, we went on overseas trips together 40 years ago, but I replaced him as the chairman of the buying organisation and he went dirty on me,” he told the AFR.
“I haven’t spoken to his son [Andrew Muir] for 25 years.”
The AFR said that the acquisition of The Good Guys would boost JB Hi-Fi’s share of the home appliances market from about 3 per cent to 15 per cent, on par with Harvey Norman’s market share.
“I’m not worried at all,” said Mr Harvey. “I’d have zero objections to JB Hi-Fi buying The Good Guys – I wonder if they’d have zero objections to me.”
The Australian appliances market could eventually become a two-player market, he said, citing the demise of chains such as Retravision, Clive Anthonys, Clive Peeters, Brashs and Rick Hart.
“All the people who had all the market share [30 years ago] have moved on – it could end up being one or two players.”
Harvey Norman has also confirmed that they are interested in buying several Masters sites from Woolworths.
POCO currently has six stores in and are keen to expand to 45 stores within two years and a 100 within 5 years. In recent weeks they have been talking to various suppliers about extending their appliance, house brand and consumer electronics product ranges.
The already carry LG, Simpson, Breville, Robinhood, Everdure and Blanco appliances.