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Will Harvey Norman Hand Back Millions In COVID-19 Handouts, Record Profits Tipped

With Harvey Norman tipped to report record revenues and profits the big question now is whether the big retailer is set to hand back any of the millions in COVID money that the Company got from Governments including Australia and New Zealand to prop up his global business.

Between the start of COVID and June 2020 Harvey Norman was handed over $28M in government support of that $12M came from the New Zealand Government, insiders claim this has risen significantly despite a big increase in profits.

Harvey Norman Chairman Gerry Harvey right and wife CEO Katie Page at the Zoo.

Earlier today, listed furniture retailer Nick Scali announced that they will repay millions of dollars’ worth of JobKeeper payment subsidies.

Last week, the company reported first-half net profit rose by almost 90 per cent to $40.6 million for the six months to December 31.

Despite the bumper profits, the retailer did not indicate it would return $3.6 million in JobKeeper assistance to the Australian Government until today.

In their last financial report Harvey Norman management claimed that they applied for, and were eligible to receive, wages support and assistance of $22.28 million in aggregate.

They said that all of the support and assistance was passed onto our employees, and we did not terminate the employment of any employee as a result of the pandemic.

ChannelNews understands that the subsidised payments continued into the 2020/2021 financial year.

Harvey Norman also admitted that they also received property-related support and assistance (including rent abatements from landlords) of $9.81 million as of June 30th.

Harvey Norman management said “The assistance received from governments and landlords ensured the businesses could survive and thrive after the lifting of mandated lockdowns.

Importantly, it ensured workers continued to get paid and have been able to meet their personal obligations”.

Today Harvey Norman shares are trading $5.59 up from a low of $2.47 in March 2020 when Governments were handing over millions to the big retailer.

Investors are tipping a “big profit” and “record turnover” similar to what JB Hi Fi and The Good Guys achieved.

The only difference is that these two retailers did not stick their hand out for Government assistance.

As one observer said “It will be interesting to see how much Harvey Norman directors get in bonuses” as a result in the boom in sales during COVID.

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