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Harvey Norman Falls After Sales Miss Some Estimates

Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd., Australia’s biggest furniture and electronics retailer, fell the most in six months in Sydney trading after posting quarterly sales that missed some analyst estimates.

Harvey Norman shares fell 5.3 percent to close at A$3.38 on the Australian Securities Exchange. The decline was the largest since Oct. 16.

Australian sales were “flat” in the three months ended March, Sydney-based Harvey Norman said in a statement today. That compares with the 6.2 percent growth estimate of Shaun Cousins, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Demand for furniture and flat-panel televisions is slowing as the government didn’t repeat the more than A$10 billion ($9.3 billion) of cash handouts that stoked sales last year. Australian sales from stores open at least a year rose 1.2 percent in the quarter, missing Cousins’ 3.8 percent estimate.

“Harvey Norman’s sales result is a first glimpse of the challenge retailers will face as they cycle fiscal stimulus,” Craig Woolford, a Sydney-based analyst at Citigroup Inc., wrote in a note to clients. Citigroup rates the stock “hold.”

Total sales for the nine months ended March, including revenue from Slovenia and Ireland, rose 2.2 percent to A$4.64 billion. Same store revenue, which strips out the effects of recently opened or closed outlets, rose 1.4 percent.

Harvey Norman’s financial year ends June 30.

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