ABACUS: Did you know…

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On average, the most profitable businesses among the 222 companies that participated in last year’s ABACUS survey (based on 2009 fiscal year data) spent 5.9 percent less on total compensation costs, 5.9 percent less on total occupancy costs, and a staggering 8 percent less on all other operating costs. (This is true regardless of how owners’ compensation is counted.)

Find out how your business compares to like-size bookstores in these crucial areas and more by participating in the ABACUS-10 Survey underway now. Each business that submits their 2010 operating results will receive a free customized analysis of their financial results, including comparisons with other businesses based on multiple criteria, and to year-to-year trending information.

Participating booksellers praise ABACUS as an invaluable tool for both analyzing their stores’ financial results and making business decisions. Allison Hill, president and COO of Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena, California, noted that ABACUS helps her “establish goals, determine areas for potential improvement, and monitor our progress. It offers us valuable information and a broader context.”

Data gathering, which began earlier this month, is via a completely secure and confidential electronic form. Once submitted, data is only accessible to Martha Love of the National Association of College Stores’ (NACS) OnCampus Research, which is compiling and producing ABACUS-10 reports for the American Booksellers Association.

Information about participating in the survey and a unique survey I.D. number were sent to each ABA bookstore member on Friday, June 3, in an e-mail from Love bearing the subject line “ABACUS10 Survey STARTS TODAY.”

Several new questions have been added to this year’s survey based on suggestions from booksellers on ABA’s ABACUS Task Force, which met in April. As a result, ABACUS-10 will provide key new criteria for comparisons and analysis in the survey results.

ABA members that participate in the survey will receive a customized report and an executive summary free of charge.

A detailed summary of the ABACUS-10 data will be available for purchase by both ABA members that do not participate in this year’s study and non-members. Non-participating ABA member stores will be able to purchase the report at a discount.

Booksellers with questions about submitting data to the survey should contact Love at OnCampus Research via e-mail. Booksellers with general questions about ABACUS should contact ABA COO Len Vlahos.

The ABACUS-10 survey deadline is August 12.