Australian-owned lifestyle, technology and entertainment retailer Harvey Norman is launching in England for the first time, with a flagship set to open at the Merry Hill shopping centre in Dudley, West Midlands.
Harvey Norman has made a “string of investments” across the West Midlands to expand its global footprint and add to its UK portfolio of two stores in Northern Ireland.
The Merry Hill store will open in autumn 2024, with the retailer acquiring the 57,000 sq ft site of a former Debenhams.
It will offer a selection of luxury furniture, homeware products and home appliances, audiovisual and technology products.
The investment at the store will create 100 new jobs across sales, administration, marketing, operations, warehousing and management.
The announcement follows the introduction of a new UK-Australia Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last year, which aims to remove unnecessary barriers to the UK market for Australian businesses and strengthen trade ties between the two countries.
Harvey Norman was established in 1982 and has more than 300 stores across Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, Slovenia, Croatia, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Chief executive Katie Page said: “With its exceptional connectivity and a population around the same size as New Zealand – where we have 42 stores – it’s clear that the West Midlands represents a significant growth opportunity for Harvey Norman. We have been in the UK for many years, with two stores in Northern Ireland.
“We look forward to opening our new Merry Hill store later this year and hope to announce further investments in the region over the coming months, so watch this space.”
Mayor of the West Midlands and former John Lewis managing director Andy Street said: “It’s wonderful news that Harvey Norman – a renowned retail brand – is expanding into England and even better news that its journey to our shores begins with a new store right here in our region at Merry Hill.
“Not only does this news mean we can look forward to an exciting addition to our region’s impressive retail offering, but it also means we will see hundreds of jobs created for local people.
“I’m pleased to see that a firm of Harvey Norman’s stature has recognised all we have to offer as an international business destination, including our diverse talent pool, central UK location and high-quality real estate. With the UK-Australia FTA now in force, I look forward to welcoming even more Australian businesses and entrepreneurs.”