Money & Banking
Coronavirus: Harvey Norman retail mogul boasts sales increase
Retail mogul and Harvey Norman co-founder Gerry Harvey has dismissed concerns over the new coronavirus outbreak in Australia, describing the pandemic as an “opportunity” that has spiked up sales.
As the federal government moved to close entertainment venues, gyms and places of worship indefinitely to slow the spread of coronavirus, Harvey said he is “not really scared” about getting infected despite being 80 years old.
Speaking on 60 Minutes alongside health experts and other business leaders, Harvey said, “It’s not the Spanish Flu that killed 15 million people just after the First World War. Why are we so scared about getting this virus?”
He added, “I’ve got to 80 years of age, I’ve had a wonderful life and I think to myself, I’m just going to keep going as if nothing’s happened.”
Billionaire retailer Gerry Harvey reckons we should all ‘lighten up’ and not let coronavirus dictate our lives. For a section of the population, “she’ll be right” is the default position, the question is whether that mentality puts ourselves and others at greater risk. #60Mins pic.twitter.com/Q6zApNN934
— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) March 22, 2020
Older people and those with underlying illnesses are most at risk of serious infection. A study from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention showed that the death rate of coronavirus patients aged above 80 was 15 per cent, compared with 0.2 per cent for those under 50.
The businessman said the pandemic has propelled consumer demand and boosted revenue across his national chain of electronics stores.
“You know, this is an opportunity,” he said.
“Our sales are up in Harvey Norman in Australia by nine per cent on last year. Our sales in freezers are up 300 per cent. And what about air purifiers? Up 100 per cent.”
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