Pandemic Buying Delivers Special Dividend At Harvey Norman

Harvey Norman (HVN) shares jumped sharply yesterday after the electronics, whitegoods and furniture retailer revealed a special dividend for shareholders after reporting five months of booming sales during the coronavirus lockdown.

The retailer told the ASX on Wednesday total sales at the company’s local franchised stores jumped 17.5% from the start of January to the end of May.

These are headline sales, not the more accurate same store or like for like measure that analysts and big shareholders prefer.

The rise marks a big improvement on Harvey Norman’s sales in the December half, which edged up by just 0.1%.

The January-May improvement has pushed financial year (June 30) to date sales growth to 7.4%.

Harvey Norman said that in light of this surge it will pay a fully franked special dividend of 6 cents a share on June 29 to any shareholder registered by June 23.

The company had previously cancelled its 12 cent interim dividend in early April to preserve cash amid the virus uncertainty.

This will deliver a $23.5 million special dividend to major shareholder Gerry Harvey.

HVN shares jumped more than 7% to $3.81 at the close on Wednesday.

Harvey Norman’s update comes a day after Wesfarmers reported a similar spike at its Bunnings and Officeworks chains, but nor at Target (sales down 1.8% and Kmart, sales up 4.1%)

Electronics retailer JB Hi-Fi has also seen a surge in sales over the lockdown months, with sales up 11.3% in the three months to March.

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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