The inventory turnover ratio cannot be used to predict the profitability of a business. Some businesses, such as manufacturers of luxury goods, typically experience slow inventory turnover, and yet can produce spectacular profits. Conversely, a business that sells commodity products may turn over its inventory at a prodigious rate, and yet cannot generate much of a profit, because competition forces it to maintain low price points. Some compilers of industry data (e.g., Dun & Bradstreet) use sales as the numerator instead of cost of sales. Cost of sales yields a more realistic turnover ratio, but it is often necessary to use sales for purposes of comparative analysis.

  1. Accounts receivable turnover and inventory turnover are two widely used measures for analyzing how efficiently a firm is managing its current assets.
  2. Unless this issue is addressed, a business will find that it must periodically eliminate obsolete inventory from stock.
  3. For 2021, the company’s inventory turnover ratio comes out to 2.0x, which indicates that the company has sold off its entire average inventory approximately 2.0 times across the period.
  4. When goods are sold quickly, capital is released faster, which can be reinvested in the business.

Inventory turnover is calculated by dividing the cost of goods sold (COGS) by the average value of the inventory. This equation will tell you how many times the inventory was turned over in the time period. The information for this equation is available on the income statement (COGS) and the balance sheet (average inventory). Competitors including H&M and Zara typically limit runs and replace depleted inventory quickly with new items.

With a well-balanced supply-and-demand chain, your business should be able to stay in the clear. The inventory turnover measurement that we have been describing indicates the speed with which a business can sell or otherwise dispose of its inventory. The days sales metric takes a somewhat different approach, measuring the number of days that it would take for the business to convert its inventory into sales. For example, an inventory turnover rate of four times per year approximately corresponds to 90 days that will be required for inventory to be sold off. Furthermore, a high inventory turnover rate reflects lean inventory management, which in its essence, ensures products are not stored for prolonged periods. This minimizes the risk of spoilage or obsolescence, especially for perishable goods or technology-sensitive items, thereby resulting in less waste.


You’ll be able to track all of your key performance metrics, including your inventory turnover alongside sales, shipping, warehousing, POS, and more. As mentioned above, higher-cost items tend to move off the shelves more slowly. Customers tend to do their research and take their time before investing in big-ticket items like cars and electronics. You need to do your research and be sure that these items are worth the potential wait on the warehouse shelf. First, determine the total cost of goods sold (COGS) from your annual income statement.

With all the capital tied up in bulk inventory, it could take a very long time to get that money back. In general, it’s better for retailers to reduce their carrying costs by resisting the urge to buy in bulk, even where there are economies of scale or discounts to be had. If those products aren’t going to shift, those potential savings from the manufacturer could be meaningless.

Accounts receivable turnover becomes a problem when collecting on outstanding credit is difficult or starts to take longer than expected. It is vital to compare the ratios between companies operating in the same industry and not for companies operating in different industries. ITR is calculated by dividing a company’s Cost of Goods Sold by its Average Inventory.

Challenge # 6: inaccurate data

An inventory turnover ratio any lower than two could indicate that sales are weak and product demand is waning. This could result in excess inventory on the warehouse shelves and wasted space and resources. Understanding your inventory turnover is a one-way ticket to increased profitability. This key performance indicator (KPI) is one of the single most important retail growth indicators as increasing your inventory turnover drives profit.

Inventory turnover definition

Any shopper who has been frustrated by an empty spot on a store shelf where the product they want to buy usually sits understands that concept. In addition, storing inventory costs money that the inventory isn’t generating when it sits in a warehouse or elsewhere. Unsold inventory can eventually be obsolete and unsellable, making it a potential financial liability for a company.

As an example, let’s say that a business reported the cost of goods sold on its income statement as $1.5 million. It began the year with $250,000 in inventory and ended the year with $750,000 in inventory. We believe everyone should be able to make financial decisions with confidence.

In some cases, companies use the ending inventory number, which is not ideal, but for companies with fairly stable levels of inventory from one year to the next, this may cause only a minor inaccuracy. Your balance sheet will tell you the COGS, the value of your beginning and ending inventory, and your annual sales figures. These are the numbers you need to perform the calculations we described earlier.

A flaw in this approach is that purchasing practices are usually more refined, involving the usage tracking of individual products. To calculate the inventory turnover ratio, divide your business’s cost of goods sold by its average inventory. As problems go, ensuring a company has sufficient inventory to support strong sales is a better one to have than needing to scale down inventory because business is lagging.

Doing so keeps the raw materials and merchandise investment lower, on average. This increases the cost per order, so there is a limit to how far this approach can be taken. A good way to efficiently employ more frequent purchases is to set up a master purchase order for a large quantity of purchases, and then issue a release against this purchase order at frequent intervals. As we note below, these actions can include the alteration of price points, elimination of poorly-selling products, and installation of a just-in-time production system.

Kelly Main is staff writer at Forbes Advisor, specializing in testing and reviewing marketing software with a focus on CRM solutions, payment processing solutions, and web design software. Before joining the team, she was a content producer at Fit Small Business where she served as an editor and strategist covering small business marketing content. She is a former Google Tech Entrepreneur and holds an MSc in international marketing from Edinburgh Napier University. Magazine and the founder of ProsperBull, a financial literacy program taught in U.S. high schools.

Q. How often should a company aim to turn over its inventory?

Businesses need to consider how varying demand throughout the year impacts their turnover rate interpretation. It allows companies to understand where they stand in relation to their peers, helping them identify areas of improvement or strength in their inventory management processes. For example, a company with $20,000 in average inventory with a COGS of $200,000 will have an ITR of 10. The longer an item is held, the higher its holding cost will be, and so companies that move inventory relatively quickly tend to be the best performers in an industry. Monitoring the ITR is pivotal for businesses to ensure they are neither understocking nor overstocking items. In conclusion, optimising inventory turnover is not solely a profit-driven objective.

By employing predictive analytics, businesses can forecast sales trends based on historical data and market behaviour. This enables businesses to keep just the right amount of stock items to meet anticipated demand. Inventory Turnover Ratio plays a pivotal role in understanding eric block on responsible branding how efficiently a company manages its inventory. It measures the frequency at which a company sells and replaces its inventory within a specific period. This financial metric offers insight into a company’s operational efficiency, sales trends, and potential liquidity issues.