Category Archives: Helpful Links

5 best retail math articles from Summer 2012

Over the past few months there have been several good articles written concerning both retailing and retail math analysis.  What follows are 5 of my favorites.  Enjoy.

  • Basics of managing Retail Business Performance”  by applythinking.  This post provides an insightful analysis of how retailers must use both turn and gmroi to analyze their overall performance.
  • How Much Does Your Beer Really Cost?” by Scott Metzger.  This cost analysis article was originally posted in The New Brewer back in February, but I didn’t see it until it hit C-Store News in June – so I’m counting it as a summer article.  The cost analysis is thoughtful, and provides helpful explanations of the various methods as well as recommendations on how best to use the information (even if you sell something other than beer.)
  • 6 Tips to Drive Inventory Turnover” by Ted Hurlbut at the “All Things Retail” blog.  While this isn’t exactly an article on mathematical analysis, it is an excellent explanation of how a retailer can improve their inventory turnover.  You will also find a short Youtube video giving highlights from the article.
  • The Mathematics of Bookselling” parts one and two by Dave Sheets at Lessons from the Saddle.  Dave takes the reader through a thoughtful analysis of gross margin percentage and inventory turnover in the bookselling industry.  His examples are clear and easy to follow, and could be applied to any retail sector.  He also has a 5 minute video covering some of the same material.
  • Sales, Stock, and Inventory, Oh My! How to Use POS Data to Improve Retail Operations” by Scott Kreisberg at The Point of Sale News.  This article is a helpful explanation of the 5 key retail math measurements that should be used when assessing the performance of your inventory.

There you have it.  The top 5 articles of the summer – in my humble opinion.  Please leave a comment if you feel there are others that should have been added to the list.

photo credit: <a href=””>Michael | Ruiz</a> via <a href=””>photo pin</a> <a href=””>cc</a>

8 Retail Math Blogs & Websites I Love

I love doing research on the internet.  For someone who started off doing research in the library stacks, the idea that I can do all my research at home in my PJ’s is extremely appealing.  Not to mention how easy search engines like Google have made research. But, despite all that I’ve found it tough to find online information related to retail math. Below I’ve shared a few of the blogs and websites I use when preparing for my retail math classes.  None of these sites are dedicated solely to retail math, but all contain good retail math related content.

1.  NRF Stores – I love this website’s Annual Lists section.  Both the lists and the accompanying analysis are valuable for obtaining a better understanding of the retail industry, its past performance, largest players, and what to expect in the future.  I share the Top 100 RetailersHot 100 Retailers, and Global Powers of Retailing Top 250 during the first week of class to acquaint students with the biggest players in the industry.  The lists also allow me to introduce some basic sales concepts early in the semester.

2.  C-Store News recently created a Retail Formulas section on their blog.  It does a nice job explaining what each formula is, how it is used, and how to calculate it.

3.  Retail Perspectives “All Things Retail” – I enjoy Ted Hurlbut’s approach to writing about retail.  He regularly discusses ways that retail math concepts can help solve problems retailers face, and often provides real-world examples.  Putting that real-world framework around math formulas tends to make them a little less dry and boring.  You might also want to check out his article “Measuring Inventory Productivity” at Inc. It’s a great explanation of why you don’t have to have stellar sales to have a good GMROI.

4.  RetailSails – This website contains a lot of helpful information and financial analysis.  I highly recommend the Financial Capsules found on their StoreIntel page, the industry sales analysis and tracking on the DataCenter page, and their Blog.

5.  RetailWire – retailwire is an online board that publishes three thought-provoking retail oriented discussions daily.  I find these invaluable for sparking discussions in my classrooms.  And, many times there is a retail math angle to their discussions and articles.  For example, the discussion titled “Fashion Scalpers Hit Jackpot Reselling Missoni for Target on Ebay” was very relevant to classroom discussions about markup and pricing.

6.  Kantar Retail iQ – I appreciate Kantar’s monthly analysis of retail sales, and their comments on various retailer’s financials.  (For example, David Marcotte’s analysis of Family Dollar’s performance.)

7.  DMS Retail – over the years, DMS Retail has had several good entries on retail math.  I particularly like their article on GMROF.

8.  Apply Thinking – this blog is fairly new, but the first few articles show a lot of promise.  I really like how the author lays out examples using multiple products and then takes the reader through them step-by-step


If you have suggestions for websites and blogs that contain useful retail math information, please share them.  I’m sure there are many good ones I’ve missed.

Helpful Links

Several of these links are math related, but some are just great general retail industry information.  At the bottom you will find teaching related blogs that I enjoy. View each by selecting ‘here’ next to the desired article/site.

Retail related:

Teaching related:

  • Joe Hoyle: Teaching – Getting the Most from Your Students: here

  • Teaching College English – the glory and the challenges: here

  • James M. Lang – Occasional reflections on higher education, religion, literature, and music. View here

  • Busynessgirl – What are you learning?: here