ABACUS Individual Store Reports on the Way

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Booksellers who participated in this year's 2004 ABACUS study are now receiving their full ABACUS report and personalized store comparison. Repeating the study's first year's success, ABACUS 2004 achieved a participation rate of 11 percent, with 181 bookstores submitting financial data to the study. The result is a detailed analysis that provides key insights into the drivers of store profitability.

Of those bookstores included in the 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.

"We are grateful to all the stores in the 2004 study, especially those participating for a second year," said ABA CEO Avin Mark Domnitz. "They have enabled us to begin studying trends within the universe of all reporting stores for the benefit of all booksellers.

"While the average bottom line is again not what we would hope, there has been an improvement, and as the study makes clear, there are many booksellers achieving solid sales and good net results by utilizing sound business practices."

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.

Look for the full 2004 ABACUS study results to posted on BookWeb.org in early September.