Retail in Asia

In Shops

Harvey Norman chairman sends out industry alert

Australian retail veteran Gerry Harvey has warned of more failed businesses and job losses this year unless the Australian economy quickly returns to growth, and jittery consumers switch from paying down their credit cards to patronising shopping centres.

Harvey is chairman of the Harvey Norman furniture, bedding and electrical goods empire, which on Wednesday posted a small drop in half-year profit and a sales slump of more than 6 percent.

Retail sales figures for January, out on Wednesday, showed growth of only 0.3 percent – and all of the increase was accounted for by a 4.3 percent jump in spending at cafes and restaurants.