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Harvey Norman price hikes warning as end to cheap electronics and furniture

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The furniture and electronics giant has said consumers could be forking out as much as 30 per cent more for goods in coming months.

Harvey Norman boss Gerry Harvey has warned the cost of electronics, appliances and furniture could rise between five and 30 per cent as shipping costs skyrocket.

The 82-year-old, who is the retailer’s executive chairman, said the price of shipping and logistics had soared, resulting in products becoming more expensive.

“Shipping containers used to cost $2000, now it’s $12,000 and the prices on your lounge go up by 10 per cent to 20 per cent,” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“You name it, no matter what product you come in to buy today, it’s dearer than yesterday, and it will be dearer again tomorrow. Prices are going up by five, 10, 30 per cent.”

Huge delays in getting stock from overseas such as China was also causing headaches, but the retailer revealed the company had set up 50 new warehouses around the country over the last 18 months to hold more stock.

Harvey declared the days of ultra-cheap electronics and furniture were over, according to the Australian Financial Review, but said customers could still nab a deal.

“Customers are coming into our stores at the moment, and we’ve still got a lot of products that are priced a lot cheaper than what we can buy it for at the moment, so we can deal a bit on price,” he told the AFR.

Harvey Norman experienced its first drop in sales and earnings since the start of the pandemic, with total sales for the six months to the end of December down 6.2 per cent to $4.9 billion with lockdowns blamed for the result.

The retail boss said he would have been happy break even after store closures during the Delta outbreak caused Harvey Norman to take a hit, while there were fears over the arrival of Omicron.

But he said trade has been strong in the past three months.

In December, whitegoods, televisions and small appliances were popular, while for the first fours months of the financial year its bestsellers included computers, monitors, printers and webcams due to working from home.

“We have started off very well in January/February, which is stronger than we thought,” Harvey added.

“There’s no reason to believe at this stage it is going to change, and if it doesn’t, we will have quite a good second half.”



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