JOHOR BARU: Australia-based retail chain Harvey Norman is on track with its expansion plans for the Malaysian market this year, in a strong push to improve its accessibility to cover a larger segment of customers nationwide.
In July, it is planning to open a new 47,300sq ft store in Southkey Mid Valley, Johor Baru.
On opening a third store in the southern state, Harvey Norman Asia managing director Kenneth Aruldoss said that it makes business sense to open another outlet there as a large number of properties are being developed in Johor, which means that there will be a need for Harvey Norman products.
He urged customers to look out for the specials which will be available at the grand opening.
Earlier in May, the retailer opened an outlet in Miri, where the response exceeded expectations.
“We know where our customers are and we are going into capital cities first, before going into towns,” he said.
Aruldoss stressed that Harvey Norman’s three key focus areas – providing a comprehensive range; the best pricing; and omnichannel customer experience – is what it wants to replicate nationwide, including its “shop with confidence” guarantee, where it will match up to 10% of the price difference for any product found cheaper elsewhere.
It also has a centralised customer service team to relay consistent messages to customers.
“The vision and mission statement is to be the No 1 brand of choice for home products in Malaysia and everything we do is in support of that,” he said.
While opening new outlets is an important part of the business strategy, Aruldoss noted that the retailer is also refurbishing older stores to reflect its standards across its retail presence.
“The objective is to keep on changing to keep up with the times,” he said.
Harvey Norman recently refurbished its outlet in Queensbay Mall, Penang, to bring it up to the standards of its other stores. The store was expanded to 27,000sqft and its furniture offerings upgraded. The outlet was one of its earliest stores and had been around for more than a decade.
In addition, Harvey Norman also relocated its existing outlet in IOI City Mall in Putrajaya, from a 22,000sq ft space to a bigger unit spanning 46,000sq ft.
The Sunway Pyramid outlet in the Klang Valley will undergo refurbishment next year, with more outlets to undergo the same.
Other improvements it is working on include introducing cooking demonstrations at selected outlets. While product demonstrations are run-of-the-mill offerings in most stores, Aruldoss noted that the retailer wants to attract its next generation of customers by offering workshops to teach them to cook.
Harvey Norman has more than 280 stores in eight countries, with 18 outlets in Malaysia.