ABACUS-12: Benchmarking & Analysis to Make Your Business Stronger

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The ABACUS Survey of Bookstore Operations for FY2012, which began May 15, is a great way for independent booksellers to obtain free, detailed financial information for their businesses, but the ABACUS survey can only be produced if enough booksellers submit their numbers.

The deadline to complete the survey is July 15. Booksellers recently received an e-mail reminder from OnCampus Research Information Analyst Martha Love about participating in ABACUS that included a link to the survey and a unique survey ID number.

This year, participating is easier than ever. New survey software automatically adds up a bookstore’s sales and expenses and calculates income.

One of the direct benefits of participating in ABACUS is that stores that submit data receive a comprehensive report highlighting their own figures compared to similar independent booksellers for many basic retail measurements, such as sales per square foot and net income. Data submitted to the survey is kept strictly confidential.

“ABACUS truly is the only resource we have for benchmarking and analysis in our part of the book trade,” said former ABA President Becky Anderson of Anderson’s Bookshops in Naperville, Illinois. “I can use this report to slice and dice so much information to see how we are doing compared to other stores of our size and sales. We use it every year to look into our payroll, sales per square foot, occupancy rates, gross margins, advertising costs compared to gross, rent /occupancy rates compared to profit, and so much more! It is the best piece of information that we use to make adjustments to the way we operate our stores on an everyday basis. We share this report with our accounting firm, and just recently they used it to value our business — something we do on a regular several-year cycle…. Don’t be apathetic and assume that others will do this — join in. We are stronger when more of us take part.”

Booksellers with questions about the survey, or those who would like a copy of the survey to work from, should contact Love at mlove@nacs.org or (800) 622-7498, ext. 2448.