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“Math for Merchandising”: A Guide To Retail Math

IconNicholson Social Retailing (SM) at Bloomin...
Image by See-ming Lee 李思明 SML via Flickr

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 14 million people are employed in the retail industry and they are responsible for generating almost two-thirds of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or more than $4.1 trillion dollars. And all these businesses, no matter how small, run on numbers. All of them are striving to sell products at a price that is high enough to pay all the expenses and have a bit left over. In short, math for merchandising is everywhere.

So what does all this have to do with you?

Well, if you are similar to most, you did not get a good understanding of math concepts in school, either because the classes bored you to tears, or the classes were not offered. But now, in your career, your employer expects you to know how to know the relationship between fractions and decimals, use percentages to analyze and compare information, determining the best pricing for sale merchandise, compute the average cost for a group of items purchased at varying prices over several weeks or months, and how much to markup an item to sell it at a profit. Clearly it may time for some help.

And that’s where “Math for Merchandising” comes in. Written in clear language by a veteran of the retail business and college instructor for more than 20 years, this book will provide you with all the knowledge and tools required to be more than competent in the retail field.

Ms. Moore has arranged the book in a logical sequence and begins with the most basic concepts of numbers and even how to get the most out of your hand held calculator (it knows more than you think it does). This most important chapter is provides many different examples of everyday business math requirements and shows you, step by step, how determine the answers and be confident doing it.

Once the basics have been established, Mrs. Moore lays out the remainder of “Math For Merchandising” book in a logical manner.  Chapters include:

  • Markups to sell
  • Fundamentals of a six month merchandising plan
  • Analyzing last year’s six month merchandising plan
  • Cost sheets and pricing
  • Sales per square foot of floor space
  • Operating statements

This book is a must have for anyone with profitability responsibilities and is especially helpful in today’s challenging retail market.

Also available is “Math for Merchandising, A Retailer’s Handbook”. This is a smaller book intended for reference use in the workplace. All the information found in the larger book is here, but without many of the fuller explanations. This effective editing distills all the important “how-to” information into a single, smaller edition.

Either volume is a must have for anyone who is making retail a career, or is not quite clear on the mathematical concepts and execution required for effective planning and tracking of retail sales strategies.

Math for Merchandising