SYDNEY, AAP – Harvey Norman continues to enjoy soaring sales through the pandemic after posting a 116 per cent rise in first-half earnings.

The furniture, electrical and whitegoods retailer on Friday reported first-half sales climbed 25 per cent and contributed to a net profit after tax of $462.03 million.

Consumers have spent plenty of money on home renovation during the pandemic, which has continued in Harvey’s second half.

Sales were up 21 per cent from January 1 to February 23 compared to the same time last year.

The group operates in eight countries.

Chairman Gerry Harvey said the results were testament to the combined retail and digital approach.

Customers appreciated the shopping experience at stores, he said, as well as being able to buy online and have goods delivered.

There are about 200 Harvey Norman stores in Australia, which run under a franchise model, while the group owns about 96 stores overseas.

Shareholders will receive a fully franked interim dividend of 20 cents per share. The company did not pay an interim dividend last year due to COVID-19.

Shares were down 3.4 per cent to $5.12 at 1149 AEDT amid a wider market downturn.