Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI)

A profitability metric that evaluates the efficiency of inventory investments, calculated by dividing the gross margin by the average inventory cost.

What is Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI)?

Gross Margin Return on Investment (GMROI) is a retail metric that measures the profitability and efficiency of inventory investments. It calculates the ratio of gross margin to average inventory cost. A higher GMROI indicates better inventory performance and higher profitability. Retailers use GMROI to assess inventory effectiveness, make informed decisions, and optimise profitability.

How GMROI works

  • Calculate Gross Margin: Determine the total sales revenue minus the cost of goods sold (COGS) to calculate the gross margin.

  • Calculate Average Inventory Cost: Find the average cost of the inventory by adding the beginning inventory value and ending inventory value, then dividing by 2.

  • Calculate GMROI: Divide the gross margin by the average inventory cost to calculate the GMROI. The resulting value represents how much gross margin is generated for every dollar invested in inventory.

  • Interpret the GMROI: A higher GMROI indicates that the inventory is generating a higher return on investment, meaning it is more profitable. A lower GMROI suggests that the inventory investment is less efficient and may require further analysis and adjustments.
By regularly tracking and analysing GMROI, retailers can gain insights into the profitability and efficiency of their inventory investments. It helps them make informed decisions regarding inventory management, pricing strategies, assortment planning, and identifying underperforming products or categories.

Pros of GMROI

  1. Performance Evaluation: GMROI provides a valuable metric to evaluate the profitability and efficiency of inventory investments. It allows retailers to assess how effectively their inventory is generating gross margin and compare performance across different products, categories, or locations. This helps in identifying the most profitable areas and making informed decisions to optimise inventory management.
  2. Inventory Optimisation: GMROI helps retailers identify underperforming inventory items that may not be generating sufficient gross margin relative to the investment. By analysing the GMROI of different products or categories, retailers can make informed decisions about inventory replenishment, pricing strategies, markdowns, and assortment planning. This enables them to focus on high-performing products and reduce inventory holding costs.
  3. Financial Decision Making: GMROI provides a financial perspective on inventory management. It helps retailers determine the profitability of their inventory investments and make data-driven decisions related to pricing, promotions, purchasing, and overall business strategy. GMROI can be used as a benchmark to assess the financial impact of different inventory-related decisions and guide retailers towards more profitable outcomes.

Cons of GMROI

  1. Limited Focus on Other Factors: GMROI primarily focuses on gross margin generated by inventory investments and may not consider other important factors such as operating expenses, marketing costs, and overhead costs. This narrow focus can limit the overall assessment of profitability and may not provide a comprehensive view of the financial performance of the business.
  2. Simplistic Measurement: GMROI is a simplified metric that calculates the return on inventory investment based solely on gross margin. It does not take into account factors such as sales volume, customer demand, product lifecycle, and pricing dynamics. As a result, it may oversimplify the complexities of inventory management and provide an incomplete picture of profitability.
  3. Lack of Contextual Analysis: GMROI is a relative measure and may not provide sufficient context for making strategic decisions. It does not consider external factors such as market conditions, competitive landscape, and customer preferences. Without a broader analysis of these factors, the GMROI metric alone may not provide actionable insights or guide retailers towards effective business strategies.


Below you will find answers to common questions
How can I use GMROI to evaluate the performance of my inventory investments?
GMROI allows you to assess the effectiveness of your inventory investments by measuring the return generated in relation to the cost of inventory. By calculating GMROI for different product categories or individual SKUs, you can identify which items or product lines are generating higher returns and contributing more to your overall profitability. This information can help you make data-driven decisions about inventory management, such as allocating resources to high-performing products or adjusting pricing strategies for low-performing ones.
What benchmark or target should I aim for when using GMROI?
The benchmark or target for GMROI can vary depending on factors such as industry, product type, and business strategy. It's important to establish realistic expectations based on your specific circumstances. You can compare your GMROI to industry averages or historical performance to gauge how well you're utilising your inventory investments. Additionally, you can set internal targets based on your desired profitability levels and adjust them over time as your business evolves. Regularly monitoring GMROI and comparing it to your benchmarks or targets allows you to identify areas for improvement and take corrective actions to optimise your inventory management practices.