Harvey Norman Hopes a Big Lift in its Earnings

Electronics and home wares retailer Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd still hopes a big lift in first half earnings after reporting a 4 per cent increase in first half sales.

The company revealed today sales for the six months to December 31 were $3.27 billion compared with $3.15 billion in the same period last year. Also, its Australian, New Zealand, Slovenia and Ireland businesses reported an increase of 2.5 per cent in like-for-like sales.

However, sales for just the Australian Harvey Norman outlets rose 6.4 per cent over the half year and were up 5.6 per cent on a like-for-like basis.

The group hold to its conservative trading position in the second half of 2009/10, as it waited to witness the impact on consumer spending and confidence without the impact of last year's government's cash handouts.

"I can't make a prophecy about how it's going to go because you are cycling against $43 billion that was put into the market. But there is another side to this as well - unemployment is low, interest rates are low, housing prices have held up, the economy is in good shape", Ms Page claimed.

The company revealed that its January sales, during the post-Christmas and stock take sales, had met expectations.