Inventory Turnover

The number of times a retailer sells and replaces its inventory within a specific period, calculated by dividing the cost of goods sold by the average inventory value.

What is Inventory Turnover?

Inventory Turnover is a metric that measures how quickly a retailer sells and replaces its inventory. It helps assess inventory management efficiency. High turnover is good, as it means inventory sells quickly, but low turnover can lead to excess stock and higher costs. Retailers aim to find the right balance to optimise their Inventory Turnover ratio. The formula is:

Inventory Turnover = Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) / Average Inventory Value

How Inventory Turnover works

  • Calculate Cost of Goods Sold (COGS): This involves summing up the cost of all products sold during the chosen period, including the cost of materials, labor, and other direct expenses associated with producing or acquiring the goods.

  • Calculate Average Inventory Value: Find the sum of the beginning inventory value and the ending inventory value for the chosen period, and then divide it by 2.

  • Divide COGS by Average Inventory Value: Divide the COGS by the average inventory value to get the Inventory Turnover ratio.

Interpreting Inventory Turnover:

  • A higher Inventory Turnover ratio indicates that goods are selling quickly, which is generally positive as it reduces holding costs and minimises the risk of obsolescence.
  • A lower Inventory Turnover ratio suggests that goods are not selling quickly enough, which may indicate poor sales performance or overstocking.
Retailers use the Inventory Turnover ratio to optimise their inventory management strategies, ensuring they have enough stock to meet customer demand without tying up excessive capital in unsold inventory. It helps them identify slow-moving items, adjust pricing or promotions, and make informed purchasing decisions to maintain a healthy balance between supply and demand.

Pros of Inventory Turnover

  1. Efficient Inventory Management: Inventory Turnover helps retailers keep track of how quickly their products are selling. A higher turnover ratio indicates that products are moving quickly, allowing retailers to maintain optimal inventory levels, minimise holding costs, and reduce the risk of overstocking.
  2. Improved Cash Flow: Higher Inventory Turnover means retailers are selling products faster, leading to faster cash flow cycles. This allows retailers to reinvest the money in other parts of the business, invest in new products, or pay off debts, contributing to overall financial health.
  3. Identifying Top-Selling Products: By analysing the Inventory Turnover ratio for different product categories or individual items, retailers can identify their best-selling products. This information helps them focus on popular items, optimise pricing and promotions, and allocate resources efficiently to maximise revenue and profits.

Cons of Inventory Turnover

  1. Stockouts and Lost Sales: A very high Inventory Turnover can lead to stockouts, where popular products are not available when customers demand them. This can result in lost sales and dissatisfied customers, negatively impacting the retailer's reputation and revenue.
  2. Increased Ordering Frequency and Costs: A high turnover ratio may require more frequent ordering to maintain sufficient stock levels. Frequent ordering can lead to higher administrative and shipping costs, reducing overall profitability.
  3. Seasonal and Slow-Moving Products: Inventory Turnover may not accurately reflect the performance of seasonal or slow-moving products. It might lead retailers to overlook the importance of these items and not allocate enough resources to promote or manage them effectively. As a result, these products could be underrepresented in the assortment, leading to missed opportunities.


Below you will find answers to common questions
How can we improve our Inventory Turnover ratio?
To improve Inventory Turnover, focus on optimising inventory management practices. Analyse historical sales data to identify fast-moving products and ensure adequate stock levels. Implement demand forecasting techniques to anticipate customer demand accurately. Additionally, consider offering promotions or discounts to encourage sales of slow-moving items and prevent excess inventory.
What steps can we take to manage Inventory Turnover during peak seasons?
During peak seasons, managing Inventory Turnover becomes crucial to meet customer demand without excessive stockouts or overstocking. Plan ahead and work closely with suppliers to ensure a steady supply of popular products. Employ dynamic pricing strategies to optimise sales and maintain stock levels. Monitor real-time sales data and adjust inventory levels accordingly to prevent stockouts and minimise carrying costs during slower periods.