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Markup by Retailers

Contributed by mm | November 17, 2003 6:39 PM PST

I'm doing a quick study to estimate the markups by different retailers. I retrieved the financial statements for the last full year available from Yahoo Finance, then calculate the markup by the formula:

Markup % = Total Revenue / Cost of Revenue - 100%

The number may be affected by slightly different accounting policies and certain non-retail businesses in each company, but should by and large represent the average markup levels for each retailer.

Here are the quick numbers:

Company Markup % Fiscal Year Ends
Tiffany 145.50% (January 2003)
Ann Taylor 118.00% (February 2003)
Bed Bath and Beyond 70.70% (March 2003)
Abercrombie & Fitch 69.80% (February 2003)
Sears 61.30% (December 2002)
Toys R US 52.60% (August 2003)
Gap 51.50% (February 2003)
Target 50.00% (February 2003)
Safeway 45.30% (December 2002)
Home Depot 45.10% (February 2003)
Lowes 44.50% (January 2003)
JCPenney 43.30% (January 2003)
Office Depot 41.60% (December 2002)
Albertson's 41.10% (January 2003)
Kroger 36.90% (February 2003)
Barnes & Noble 36.70% (Fenruary 2003)
Amazon.com 33.80% (December 2002)
OfficeMax 33.40% (January 2003)
Walmart 28.50% (January 2003)
Overstock.com 20.00% (June 2003)
CostCo 14.10% (September 2002)
BJ's Wholesale Club 12.00% (February 2003)

Any surprises?

This Post Has Received 30 Comments. Share Your Opinions Too.


sam Commented on March 25, 2005

Many of your calculations are borderline ridiculous, and this is no exception. What you've computed is gross profit margins. My first problem is that you dont consider intermediate work. Tiffany doesn't just buy a hunk of gold and a rough diamond then "mark them up" and resell them to you. A Tiffany ring requires hours of craftsmanship. On the other hand, costco basically gets stuff shipped in bulk from a manufacturer, forklifts it up onto shelves, and slaps a new price on it. At costco you're buying the rough material itself. This is like saying that the guy who gives you a haircut charges you 1000% markup on the cost of the scissors he uses to cut your hair. In addition, depending on Tiffany's inventory accounting, the gold in the necklace you buy from them could cost anywhere between $300 and $400 an ounce, throwing the calculation off.


mm Commented on March 25, 2005

Sam, I will question if you really understand general accounting for cost of revenue. If any hours are put to transform gold to a ring, they are captured in the cost of revenue.


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