Harvey bags Online

Tabloid can only speculate that incessant bugging by journalists has led the retail king to consider e-tail bagging a healthy form of relaxation.

One of our loyal spies tipped us the news of deck-chair shuffling at The House Of Juggernaught. Harvey Norman Online franchisee Richard Eastmead has, as they say, left the building.

Rumours suggested Eastmead was expecting to make a motza from the venture, which has since failed to materialise.

Word on the street was that HN franchisees were unhappy competing against their online counterpart.

The new structure sees HN take operations in-house, changing its structure so all franchisees can benefit.

HN finance director John Skippen wouldn't comment when Tabloid called so we went straight to the top.

In one of his more candid interviews, Gerry Harvey confirmed the rumours that Eastmead had left HN Online. It was suggested he was on holiday contemplating his future back at another HN store.

"Richard will go on to better things," Harvey said. "We'll keep it [Harvey Norman Online] going because you've got to."

Harvey said he was not worried about Eastmead's replacement, implying he had a few other HN lackies in mind to run the online show.

"To run that thing you don't need to be a genius," he jibed. "It's just a friggin' catalogue on the Net."

However, it seems his flippant message had serious intent designed to appease nervous HN franchisees. "It's not much competition [for franchisees]; it doesn't do a lot of business.

In fact, he went so far as to say its traffic was "so small, it's scary".

But not content hassling his own online store, Harvey asked how many customers buy from dstore each day, agreeing with Tabloid's guess at 20.

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