Electronic and furniture retailer Harvey Norman will pay a special dividend after riding the wave of a coronavirus-inspired boom.
The retailer reported second-half sales surge in Australia – up 17.5 per cent – although sales at many of its overseas stores slumped after closures due to COVID-19.
The electrical and furniture retailer said the second half sales increase for Aussie franchisees, including the Domayne and Joyce Mayne stores, was based on figures to May 31.
The progress result is a substantial increase on the 0.1 per cent sales rise for the first half of the financial year, although many experts have warned the deepest economic impact of the pandemic could still be to come.
The company also said it would pay a fully franked special dividend of six cents a share. The retailer – which kept its shops open during the pandemic even as competitors closed – had cancelled its 12 cents a share interim dividend in April to preserve cash holdings, citing the uncertainty of the virus on trading.
Shares in Harvey Norman jumped on the news and were trading 5.07 per cent higher at $3.73 by 11.30am (AEST) on Wednesday.
Harvey’s two stores in Tasmania were the only ones in Australia to close briefly due to the virus, but temporary closures were more common overseas.
Harvey Norman stores in New Zealand, Malaysia, Ireland, Northern Ireland, Slovenia and Croatia were closed for longer periods due to government requirements.
The 12 stores in Singapore are yet to re-open.
The Singapore stores have suffered a 21.7 per cent sales decline in the second half to May 31, based on Australian dollars.
Sales at its 39 New Zealand stores dipped by 7.3 per cent, while the six stores across Croatia and Slovenia have had a 5.5 per cent sales drop.
The 23 stores in Malaysia recorded a 1.3 per cent sales increase, while the 13 stores in Ireland achieved a 25.4 per cent sales boost.
The sole store in Northern Ireland had sales drop by 38.2 per cent.
The company’s total sales for the financial year to May 31 are 7.4 per cent better than the previous one.