# What Is Retail Accounting? Retail Method + Calculator

Although the retail inventory method doesn’t replace physical inventory counts, it provides a quick estimate that can help power business decisions. The retail inventory method (RIM) is an accounting tool that quickly estimates the value of your merchandise. More specifically, the RIM gives an assessment of ending inventory value by measuring the cost of inventory items in relation to the price of said goods. This method makes use of sales data and cost-to-retail ratio to generate its estimates, meaning retailers can gather approximations without having to sort through each of their warehouse shelves. The retail method of accounting is a popular valuation strategy for retail stores primarily because of its simplicity.

1. Meaning, it’s only used by companies who do not manufacture their own inventory.
2. This way, you can better guarantee the accuracy of critical inventory reporting.
3. And that’s precisely why the Cogsy platform comes with a demand planning tool.
4. The retail inventory method is also at risk of being inaccurate when an acquisition has been made.
5. The tools used to calculate the retail inventory method include cost-to-retail percentage, cost of goods sold, and cost of sales during the designated time period.

Even businesses that choose to use the https://accounting-services.net/ during the year generally will do a physical count at the end of the year and apply a cost flow assumption to arrive at the actual cost of inventory. For example, if your supermarket buys its produce for 70 cents then sells the produce for \$1.00, you would have a gross profit of 30 cents. 30 cents divided by the selling price of \$1.00 equals out to be a gross profit margin of 30% of sales, which also means that your supermarket’s cost of goods sold is 70% of sales.

Using the \$50,000 total inventory value at cost and the \$106,000 total inventory value at retail, the owner now subtracts all sales and any markdowns from the total inventory value at retail. The cost/retail ratio makes up one of the main components used to calculate the retail inventory method. The first method, called the conventional retail method includes markups but excludes markdowns. The second method, simply called the retail method, uses both markups and markdowns to calculate the ratio. Companies have used the retail method of inventory accounting for many years. According to the Committee on Ways and Means, the retail inventory method has been the best accounting method since 1941.

The retail inventory method is also known as the retail method and the retail inventory estimation method. This ending inventory at retail will be used later in Step 6 and serve as your beginning inventory at retail for your next period calculation. Take note that you only exclude markdowns when computing the cost-to-retail ratio. This ending inventory at retail will be used later in step 6 and serve as your beginning inventory at retail for your next period calculation. The cost should be the amount recorded in the books, while the retail price refers to the amount you generally will charge your customers for the goods.

## What exactly is the retail inventory method?

The retail inventory method (RIM) helps retailers estimate the value of their merchandise. More specifically, the retail inventory method calculates your ending inventory balance. It does this by measuring the cost of your inventory relative to its retail price. Because the retail inventory method uses weighted averages to calculate the ending values it does not represent an exact cost value of the inventory. Also, because it uses markdowns, this method gives the most conservative value for inventory valuation. In practice, the retail inventory method, with markups and markdowns, can become complicated to figure out, so it’s best to track these using a database or, at the very least, a spreadsheet.

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According to inventory reports, in January, you purchased an additional \$500 in jeans, then spent \$250 on jeans in February, and another \$500 on jeans in March. By adding these purchases together, you learn that the value of your newly purchased inventory is \$1,250. For example, your business buys water bottles for \$10 each and sells them for \$25. For example, your business purchased 30 basketballs for \$5 each, then at a later date, you purchased 20 more basketballs, but for \$6 each.

## Get accurate, real-time inventory data

One of the main benefits of the RIM is that it supports you in exercising inventory control. This means the retail inventory method ties products directly to their sales and then provides an ending inventory count (without much additional work on your end). The WAC method swoops in to simplify your inventory accounting and reveal the average cost of each SKU. This will play into both your cost-to-retail ratio and cost of goods available for sale. Often, weighted average is used alongside FIFO or LIFO to create a more well-rounded costing method. That said, WAC is best used when it’s too complicated to figure out what you paid for each unit in your inventory.

However, it’s more complicated when you run a store with many SKUs, like a boutique or grocery store, for example. This inventory accounting method is a shortcut to estimating your stock’s value. While the retail inventory method can give an estimate on your ending inventory balance, it cannot guarantee complete accuracy. That’s why it’s necessary for retailers to cross-check if the RIM is right, by using another form of inventory accounting. Many businesses double check their inventory estimates by comparing the RIM numbers with their FIFO/LIFO inventory counts.

It offers you snapshots with directionally accurate figures, although the representations are not as clear or detailed as physical inventory. The method for valuing retail inventory calculates the ending value of the inventory by summing the value of the goods available for sale, which contains beginning inventory and any new inventory purchases. Your ending inventory represents the value of merchandise you have available at the end of your reporting period.

You probably have a lot of cash invested in stock, which makes sense, as buying inventory is essential to any retailer. For best results, use the retail inventory method only when the products retail method you’re appraising have the same markup. For example, this method won’t work if you’re calculating the value of jeans that have a 50% markup and pencils that have a 150% markup.

The weighted average cost flow assumption is the least common approach to tracking inventory. In fact, the IRS considered it inaccurate and prohibited businesses from using it for tax purposes until 2008. Using the retail inventory method to calculate stock you have in a warehouse saves you the hassle of going to the warehouse to count it (or spending money to have the warehouse employees count it). Also, the cost of merchandise in your warehouse is usually consistent—there are no sales or price cuts like you have in-store—which leads to more accurate results with the RIM calculation.

Now, you can use the cost of merchandise available for sale and the cost of sales during that period to determine your ending inventory. For example, if your shop had a beginning inventory of \$30,000 and then you purchased \$10,000 of new inventory during that period, your cost of merchandise available for sale is \$40,000. Since inventory is the bread and butter of your retail store, you likely have a lot of capital tied to your stock. Therefore, it makes sense to keep track of your inventory so you can make effective decisions when it comes to what to order, what to invest in, and when to carry more products. Only Shopify POS helps you manage warehouse and retail store inventory from the same back office.

## 10 Retail industry LIFO practices

Subtract the answers from steps 2 and 3 to compute inventory at retail price. Having a handle on your inventory is an important step in managing a successful business. That way, you know exactly when your stock levels are running low and when it’s time for you to call in product reinforcements. While the LIFO method can prevent perishable items from going bad, unfortunately, it’s not a good indicator of ending inventory value. Last-in, First-out (LIFO) is where the products you received last have priority over anything else.

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