Praise COVID-19 Gerry Harvey Is Ec-stat-ic
Harvey Norman is on a roll and Chairman Gerry Harvey is ecstatic claiming he has never seen trading conditions like it before as Australians splash the cash with him tipping more to come as Victorians are released from hibernation hell.
Harvey Norman sales surged 30 per cent for the eleven weeks to mid-September and if his interim profits are anything to go back, he has seen a 186% lift in profits to $178 million with retailers reporting “Every month is like Christmas”.
As for his overseas operations hr claims Harvey Norman Ireland has gone from underperforming to over performing.
“Ireland at the moment is our best. It was our worst in 2008-09 where we lost $50m the first year, $50m the second year and $100m the third year. We lost $200m in four to five years, now Ireland is back in the money and outperforming. If you can hang in there and do the right things your time will come,” Mr Harvey said, adding that the main thing he had learned from the COVID-19 pandemic was you “never know what is going to happen.”
He told the Australian newspaper that the recent drought, bushfires, and the pandemic were not predictable. He believes most catastrophes come from left field.
“The lesson is be prepared and be alert because something is going to happen, and you don’t know what it is.
“I have learnt to appreciate every day on the earth and make the best of it. I have always known that but as each of these catastrophes happens it reinforces it.”
In Melbourne, the easing of stage four restrictions will commence on October 26, but Mr Harvey is pushing for his stores to re-open sooner.
“When we open in Melbourne the sales will go through the roof, we won’t be able to handle the business. The longer you leave (the reopening) the bigger the crowds coming into the stores due to Christmas.
Asked if he had been in discussions with the Victorian government about his ongoing store closures Mr Harvey said “I am sure if I picked up the phone to (Victorian premier) Dan Andrews he wouldn’t want to talk to me.
“But if they get down to 20-30 cases a day there would be no valid argument to close the Harvey Norman stores.
“We are fairly big shops there are not a lot of people in there, we are not like supermarkets.”
On the border closure front Mr Harvey foreshadows that state governments will be in for strident criticism through the ongoing border closures when there are virtually no COVID-19 cases.
“You might get away with it for a while, (but) the public will rebel,” he said adding that the state border closures decisions are entirely political.
Mr Harvey said political polling was showing the public is on the side of border closures at present because of health fears. But when the polling reveals the public wants the borders opened that will happen.
“As long as a bigger percentage of the public accept that they will keep doing it,” Mr Harvey said, adding Prime Minister Scott Morrison knows it’s political, that is why he “goes off his brain about it.”