THE NEWS WRAP: Harvey Norman predicts rising house prices will boost retail spending

Retail giant Harvey Norman is pinning its hopes for a turnaround in retail sales on increased consumer confidence and a housing boom.


“I’m hoping there’ll be, if not a boom, then a big pick-up in housing because if that happens then it will employ a lot of people and the domino effect will go through the community and it will help everyone,” executive chairman Gerry Harvey says.


“There’s every reason to believe they’ll become more confident and if they do then they should buy more refrigerators and lounges and that sort of thing, and they should renovate their houses, so you’ll get more economic activity and that will be good for not just us as retailers but everyone out there.”


Woolworths hopes to go local in a bid to woo consumers


Woolworths is planning to unveil a new brand, called Woolworths Local, in a bid to woo consumers concerned about the plight of farmers and suppliers.


The retailer is looking at using the branding on its petrol stations, liquor stores and convenience stores, as well as some lines of its private label products.


The brand will also compete head-on against independent grocery retailers supplied by Metcash/IGA or Foodworks, which are often marketed as serving the local community.


Simplot might close its Devonport factory over rising water bills


Simplot Australia has warned the future of its factory in Devonport, which employs around 300 people, is at risk due to increasing water prices.


A recent price increase saw the facility’s annual water bill grow from $800,000 to $2.8 million.


“I can tell you, you have to sell a lot of green peas to make that two million dollars,” Simplot Australia chief executive Terry O’Brien says.




The Dow Jones Industrial Average is up to 15376.1. The Aussie dollar is up to US93.51 cents.


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