Harvey Norman has signalled plans to close the doors of an under-performing Canberra store as the retailer battles to stay afloat following the 2010 purchase of the failing Rick Hart and Clive Peeters brands.
The move, first reported by the Canberra Times, means 36 staff members will be made redundant or redeployed from the Woden Westfield store. Where appropriate, staff will be reallocated to the company’s Fyshwick outlet.
The Woden closure makes Fyshwick the last remaining Harvey Norman store in the ACT.
Harvey Norman’s head of computers Ben Macintosh today ruled out further closures from the recent evaluation.
“We review our stores every month and have done for the last 25 years,” he told CRN. “Every retailer does that, it’s part of a normal business case.”
He said Harvey Norman's continual review process also considers opening new stores. Next year the Harvey Norman group will unveil its Maroochydore mega-centre, consisting of Joyce Mayne, Domain, Harvey Norman and other non-related retail outlets.
Macintosh told CRN Harvey Norman is currently studying new store opportunities all around Australia, specifically in Canberra and Sydney, and wouldn’t rule out new shopfronts opening this year.
The company revealed the full cost of the $55 million Rick Hart/Clive Peeters purchase last August at just over $41 million, while reporting the loss was largely offset by the strong performance of the group's franchise operations. For the full year to 30 June 2011 the retailer reported a 9 percent increase in net profit to $252 million, compared to an 8 percent rise for the previous 12 months.
Harvey Norman announced its intention to shut down seven Clive Peeters and Rick Hart stores and rebrand 16 more into Harvey Norman branches, and in November was forced to appoint administrators to three of the subsidiary stores in Victoria and Western Australia.
Bowing to pressure from competitors and consumers late last year Harvey Norman debuted its first full online retail offering as part of plans to build a “multi-channel platform” for consumers, and is now banking on a sharp increase in online trade to help support its plans for growth going forward.