Inventory turnover ratio

What is the Inventory turnover ratio?

The Inventory Turnover Ratio is a fundamental financial ratio used by businesses to assess their efficiency in managing inventory. It measures how many times a company’s inventory is sold and replaced during a specific period, usually a year. A higher turnover ratio generally indicates that the company is effectively selling its inventory and restocking it regularly, which can be a positive sign of operational efficiency and financial health.

On the other hand, a lower ratio may imply slow-moving or excess inventory, potentially signaling inefficiencies in the company’s supply chain or sales processes. Understanding the inventory turnover ratio helps businesses optimize inventory levels, reduce carrying costs, and make informed decisions to improve overall performance.

Understanding the concept of inventory turnover ratio

This Ratio is an important financial ratio used by businesses to evaluate their inventory management efficiency. It measures the number of times a company’s inventory is sold and replaced within a given period, typically a year. This ratio reflects how quickly a company can convert its inventory into sales, indicating the effectiveness of its supply chain and sales strategies.

concept of inventory turnover ratio

A higher inventory turnover ratio suggests that a company is selling goods rapidly and maintaining optimal inventory levels, reducing the risk of holding obsolete stock. Conversely, a lower ratio may signal poor inventory management, potentially leading to higher carrying costs and a decline in profitability.

By analyzing the inventory turnover ratio, businesses can make informed decisions to enhance productivity, minimize costs, and boost overall financial performance.

Inventory turnover ratio formula

The inventory turnover ratio is calculated using the following formula:

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


  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost incurred by a company to produce or purchase the goods that were sold during a specific period.
  • Average Inventory represents the average value of inventory held by the company during that same period.

To calculate the Average Inventory, you can use the following formula:

Average Inventory = (Beginning Inventory + Ending Inventory) / 2


  • Beginning Inventory is the value of the inventory at the start of the period.
  • Ending Inventory is the value of the inventory at the end of the period.

What is a good inventory turnover ratio

A good ratio can vary across industries, but generally, a higher ratio is preferred. A ratio of 5 or higher is often considered favorable, as it indicates that the company is efficiently managing its inventory, selling goods quickly, and restocking frequently. A high inventory turnover ratio suggests effective supply chain management, reduced carrying costs, and minimized risks of holding excess or obsolete inventory.

However, it’s essential to balance the ratio with industry norms and the nature of the business. A very high turnover ratio may imply stockouts or missed sales opportunities, while an excessively low ratio could signify poor sales performance or overstocking issues.

Inventory turnover ratio – by industry

How to calculate the inventory turnover ratio

Divide the Cost of Goods Sold by the Average Inventory to calculate the inventory turnover ratio. First, calculate the COGS by summing up the total costs of goods sold over a particular period. After adding the beginning inventory and ending inventory and dividing the result by 2, divide the COGS by the Average Inventory to calculate the inventory turnover ratio.

A higher ratio indicates efficient inventory management, while a lower ratio may suggest potential inefficiencies in the company’s inventory control and sales processes.

A practical example of an inventory turnover ratio

Let’s consider a practical example of a retail store that sells electronic gadgets. During the fiscal year, the store had total sales of $1,000,000. The cost of goods sold (COGS) for the same period was $600,000. At the beginning of the year, the store had $100,000 worth of inventory, and at the end of the year, it had $80,000 worth of inventory.

First, we calculate the Average Inventory

Average Inventory = (Beginning Inventory + Ending Inventory) / 2

Average Inventory = ($100,000 + $80,000) / 2

Average Inventory = $90,000

Next, we calculate the Inventory Turnover Ratio.

Inventory Turnover Ratio = COGS / Average Inventory

Inventory Turnover Ratio = $600,000 / $90,000 Inventory Turnover Ratio = 6.67

In this example, the inventory turnover ratio is approximately 6.67 times, indicating that the store sold and replaced its inventory around 6.67 times during the year. A higher turnover ratio suggests efficient inventory management and faster sales of products.

Advantages of inventory turnover ratio

Efficient inventory management:

It helps companies gauge how quickly they are selling and replenishing inventory, aiding in optimizing stock levels and reducing holding costs.

Identifying slow-moving items:

A low ratio highlights slow-moving or obsolete inventory, enabling businesses to take corrective action like discounts or promotions to clear stagnant stock.

Improved cash flow:

Higher turnover means quicker sales and faster cash inflow, allowing companies to invest in other areas of the business.

Sales performance evaluation:

It helps assess the effectiveness of sales strategies and product demand, enabling adjustments to boost sales and profitability.

Supply chain optimization:

Understanding turnover aids in streamlining the supply chain and identifying potential bottlenecks.

Comparison across industries:

Allows benchmarking with industry norms to evaluate competitive positioning.

Decision-making insights:

Helps make informed decisions on purchasing, pricing, and overall inventory control, contributing to enhanced operational efficiency and financial performance.

Limitations of inventory turnover ratio

Industry differences:

Ratios may vary significantly across industries, making comparisons challenging.

Seasonal fluctuations:

Seasonal businesses might experience fluctuating ratios, affecting the year-round analysis.

Ignores inventory composition:

The ratio treats all items as equal, disregarding varying costs and profit margins of different products.

Quality and obsolescence:

High turnover doesn’t consider inventory quality or potential obsolescence, leading to inaccurate assessments.

Cost variations:

Changes in costs can impact the ratio, potentially misleading decision-making.

Ignoring carrying costs:

It overlooks inventory carrying costs, hindering a comprehensive evaluation of inventory management efficiency.

Limited standalone measure:

It is best used in conjunction with other performance metrics for a holistic understanding of business performance.

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