As expected Gerry Harvey’s Harvey Norman earned a motza in the six months to December and he will take a motza in a higher dividend for the half as a result.
The company confirmed previous updated guidance that it doubled sales and profit in the December half while also slashing half a billion dollars in debt as the company again benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic.
It joined JB Hi Fi, Temple Webster, Kogan, Adairs, Accent Group, Coles and Woolies in other chains in benefitting from the pandemic which shut most of Australia in 2020.
The company said in its interim results on Friday that profit after tax and one-off items rose 115.8% to $438 million for the six months to the end of December, a record result.
Consolidated revenue rose 27% to $2.34 billion and the business reduced its net debt by $574 million, reporting a net cash position of $21.75 million by the end of December.
Harvey Norman lifted interim dividend to 20 cents a share from 12 cents a year earlier.
That means an $80 plus million payout for company founder and executive chairman Gerry Harvey and wife Katie Page who is the company’s CEO.
“The solid results delivered this half is a testament to the strength and resilience of the integrated retail, franchise, property and digital strategy and its ability to adapt and transform to the changing retail landscape and continue to navigate the uncertainties presented by COVID-19,” Mr Harvey said on Friday.
The retailer claimed $10 million in JobKeeper subsidies in the 2020 financial year. On Friday, the company revealed it had pocketed another $3.63 million in local wage subsidies during the first half of 2021, along with $2.25 million in support to the business’ various overseas divisions.
“Some of the other non-franchised businesses applied for, and were eligible to receive, $3.63 million of wages support and assistance during 1H21, all of which was passed on directly to their employees in order to retain the employees of those businesses,” the company said in the ASX release.
Harvey Norman said sales were up 21% across the business for the first seven weeks, driven primarily by sales in Australia, New Zealand and Ireland.
That is going to slow because the first seven weeks of last year saw no impact from COVID. The impact and rapid growth in online sales started in March and ran all the way to December.