Harvey Norman CEO Says High A$ Driving Retailer Prices Down
06/27/2012| 12:42am US/Eastern
By Rachel Pannett
SYDNEY--The high Australian dollar exchange rate is driving prices down and hurting revenue in spite of strong overall sales, Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd. (>> Harvey Norman Holdings Limited) Chief Executive Katie Page said Wednesday.
"There are lots of people shopping," Ms. Page told a retail conference in Sydney.
"It is not about a lack of customers. For a lot of retail businesses, transactions are up but (revenue) is down because of the Australian dollar," she said.
The Australian dollar has rallied sharply over the past year as demand from Asia for Australia's commodities, including iron ore and coal, underpinned a once-in-a-century mining boom. That has made life difficult for other sectors of the economy not exposed to the mining boom, such as retail and manufacturing.
Speaking at the same conference, Ian McLeod, the managing director of supermarket chain Coles, said consumer sentiment is at 20-30-year lows. Coles is owned by Wesfarmers Ltd. (>> Wesfarmers Limited).
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