2004 ABACUS Results Now Available to All ABA Member Stores

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This week, the American Booksellers Association published the results of the 2004 ABACUS study on BookWeb.org. Accessible to ABA bookstore members only, this year's study, which achieved a participation rate of 11 percent with 181 bookstores submitting financial data, focused on providing participating businesses, and the independent bookselling community at large, with year-to-year trends, based on the results of bookstores participating in both the 2003 and 2004 studies. Stores participating in this year's study were sent their individual store reports in July and August.

"We believe that the sort of information provided in the ABACUS study is what will help booksellers thrive in the current competitive environment and achieve greater profitability," said ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz. "We are grateful to all the stores in the 2004 study, especially those participating for a second year. They have enabled us to begin studying trends within the universe of all reporting stores for the benefit of all booksellers."

Of those bookstores included in the 2004 study, 30 percent were "high profitability" stores, 40 percent fell into the "middle profitability" category, and 30 percent were "low profitability" stores. The study found that the "average" participating store had a net income of -1.4 percent, a slight increase over last year's bottom line of -1.7 percent.

Detailed analysis of the data provided by the participating stores gives key insights into the drivers of store profitability and provides a firm starting point to help stores improve their bottom line.

The average "high profitability" bookstore in the 2004 study had a net income of 5.3 percent, while stores in the "lower profitability" had a net income of -11.1 percent. In comparing the lower profit group with its higher profit counterpart, the study indicated that a key contributing factor to profitability is how much a store spends on payroll, occupancy, advertising, and miscellaneous expenses.

The 2004 ABACUS study provides booksellers with year-to-year trending data by analyzing the group of repeat participants, dubbed the "ABACUS Group." The Group showed a marginal increase in net income in 2003, as compared to 2002, to .2 percent from .1 percent. Meanwhile, the average "high profitability" ABACUS Group store had a net income of 5.3 percent, while the "lower profitability" category had a net income of -6.3 percent.

To view the results of the 2004 ABACUS study, click here. (A User Name and Password are required. To create a BookWeb.org member account, click here.)