I’ve interviewed Gerry Harvey a few times as a journo for SBS World News Australia and Sky News.
I find him to be honest, genuine and direct.
So if he back flips on a previous position, then it really must be for good reason.
Tonight, Harvey Norman Ireland, which is separate from the local chain, launched a direct import website at harveynormandirectimport.com. It will sell video games at cheaper prices to Australians, GST-free.
It’s nothing new. JB Hi-Fi has a similar service for digital camera related products.
Harvey’s new venture will sell some games around a third of the price than at physical stores, with shipping charged at $3.95 per game. For all orders under $1,000 no GST will be paid.
Gerry Harvey says he held back on the move for 12 months as he led a campaign against such services.
Earlier this year he called on the government to force online retailers to levy a 10 per cent GST on purchases less than $1,000.
A federal government taskforce has been set up to look at the tax threshold on online purchases.
Gerry Harvey has long been voicing his concerns about the industry, and has been criticised for not moving with the times, by not moving effectively into the online retailing space. So now that he has, will he face an avalanche of new criticism for telling Australians not to buy games at his stores if they want cheaper prices?
He’s taken that very unusual step of warning customers, that they’ll get better bang for their buck if they shop on his new website.
It’s the latest in a sector that’s being hit hard by a value conscious consumer.
Today, adventure wear company, Kathmandu became the third retailer in under a week to issue a profit warning in the lead up to Christmas.
Anyone that follows my blog on the SBS World News Australia website would know that I identified this worrying trend earlier in the week, after JB Hi-Fi and Billabong issued their warnings to the market.
Interestingly, all three companies have previously been market darlings, outperforming their peers.
But the tide is certainly changing.