Harvey Norman sales up, but margins under pressure

It is looking like a reasonable Christmas for the nation’s retailers as the Government’s $10 billion package takes effect.

It is looking like a reasonable Christmas for the nation’s retailers as the Government’s $10 billion package takes effect.

Retailer Harvey Norman has reported that its like-for-like sales for the 28 days to December 21 rose by 8.7% on the corresponding period last year.

However the company says in a statement that retail margins continue to be under pressure, which indicates discounts are being used to boost sales.

Sales at Harvey Norman are often seen a benchmark for consumer demand and the retailer has been releasing monthly like-for-like written sales data weekly for the past two months. Sales for the last month increased by 4.5% compared to the corresponding period last year.

However, spare a thought for US retailers whom are seeing their shares slide as consumers curb spending. WalMartreen fell 4.2% last night to $US24.98 and are planning to open fewer stores than it previously planned as consumers cut back.

JC Penney, which launched a website in Australia to much fanfare this year before closing two months later, shed 5.8% to $US18.77.

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