Shareholders of Harvey Norman Holdings have praised the retailer for its reasonable executive pay packages, with some hoping other companies would follow its example.

At the company's annual meeting yesterday, several investors expressed approval of Harvey Norman's remuneration report, with some saying they had cited the retailer's pay structure at the annual meetings of other companies.

One shareholder said the report was the best among those companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).

Chairman and business personality Gerry Harvey, who was often praised at the meeting for "calling a spade a spade", said there were a lot of dishonest people in the business world who rewarded themselves despite falling share prices.

"We are basically descent, honest people ... we will tell it to you the way it is," Harvey told the meeting in Sydney.

The company's latest annual report shows executive pay levels have remained the same for the past three years, at between A$300,000 ($383,000) and A$1 million.

Harvey received a total package of $900,000 in fiscal 2009 and chief executive Katie Page's pay was $1 million.

Meanwhile, Page said the successor to her husband and company founder, Gerry Harvey, would be an internal candidate although she expected Harvey to be around to a while longer.

Page would not reveal details about the 70-year-old's retirement plans.

She said she was in charge of his diet and exercise and if News Corp boss Rupert Murdoch could run a global business at 78 so could her husband, who had recently lunched with the media mogul.

Page also said Harvey Norman was not planning to expand in new markets overseas and was not seeking any acquisitions at the moment. "Our market share in Australia is improving and we are always looking to expand in other categories."

She said its 16 stores in Ireland were still struggling as the Irish economy continued to suffer.

"Ireland is not going any better ... we are looking at it every month."

Page said she was cautious about the Christmas trading period. "Who knows what will happen in December compared to last year, we are always hoping to do better."

Harvey Norman said last week that sales from its franchised stores rose 7.7 per cent between July 1 and November 22 to $1.93 billion while like-for-like store sales lifted by 5.9 per cent. It said it was expecting a pre-tax first half profit rise of more more than 40 per cent.

Harvey Norman's 2008-09 first half net profit dropped 56.8 per cent to A$99.33 million.

- AAP