In the complex world of business, understanding the financial ins and outs is essential to make informed decisions. Among the indicators offering an overview of the financial health of your store, its profitability and its competitiveness in the market, there is the retail markup. The retail markup is calculated by dividing the gross profit by the cost of the product.

Definition of Retail Markup

The retail markup is the amount that is added to the cost of production or acquisition of the product to set the selling price to the consumer. It is usually expressed as a percentage.

For example, if the cost price is $25 and the selling price is $40, the retail markup is 60% ($15 markup the store earns for each product sold).

Difference Between Retail Markup and Margin Rate

The retail markup and the margin rate are two indicators for evaluating the financial profitability of a store. They are, however, different from each other. The retail markup is calculated in relation to the cost price, while the margin rate is calculated in relation to the selling price.

The retail markup is the difference in the percentage between the cost price and the selling price. It is the increase on the acquisition cost to give the price at which the retailer sells the product to the customer. If we take the example above, there was a 60% markup on the cost price ($25) to arrive at the sale price ($40).

The margin rate compares the gross margin from the selling price. It focuses on the profit made from the sale after taking into account the cost of goods sold, indicating the profitability in relation to the selling price. In other words, it is the percentage of the selling price that represents profit for the retailer. The higher the markup, the greater the profit margin and the more profitable the product. The margin rate of the product sold at $40 to the consumer (whose cost price is $25) would be 37.5% (the profit represents 37.5% of the selling price, the rest is the cost price).

The Importance of the Retail Markup

Calculating the retail markup is very useful for evaluating the profitability of the company. The prices a retailer sets for its products must be sufficient to cover all costs, generate profit and remain competitive.

This data allows you to direct your activities thereafter. A low retail markup can indicate that the financial health of the company is fragile and a lack of profitability. The retailer can therefore act to remedy the situation by establishing a strategy to turn the business around. A high retail markup can indicate good financial health. The retailer can therefore analyze their product range to see which products are the most profitable and adjust their marketing and sales strategies accordingly to put emphasis on what works best.

Retail markup calculations also play a role in forecasting promotions and discounts. By knowing their margins well, retailers can decide how much discount they can afford to offer while still maintaining their desired profit margin. These calculations allow you to make informed decisions.

Knowing the retail markup helps retailers position themselves in the market. They may choose to offer premium products with higher markups to show that the product is quality. On the other hand, retailers can include more economical options with lower markups in their product range to appeal to price-sensitive customers.

The retail markup is also useful to inventory management. It can influence inventory turnover and help retailers manage inventory levels. If a product’s markup is high, but it’s not selling well, it may be a good idea for the retailer to reconsider the price or phase out the product.

What is a Good Retail Markup?

Usually, retailers aim for a retail markup of around 50%, but this can vary depending on industry, product types and several other factors.

Factors That Influence the Retail Markup on New Products

Industry : Different industries have different cost structures and profit margins. It is therefore useful to know the ranges common to your specific field for retail markups.

Profitability: The retail markup should provide a sufficient level of profit to support your business and its growth.

Competitiveness: Your retail markup must allow you to remain competitive in the market. If your prices are significantly higher than those of your competitors for similar products, you may struggle to attract customers.

Perceived value: Consider the perceived value of your product. If your product offers unique features, higher quality, or a better customer experience, you may be able to justify a higher markup.

Price sensitivity of customers: Assess how sensitive your target customer is to prices. If your customers are particularly price-conscious, a lower markup might be more appealing.

Elasticity of demand: If price changes have a significant impact on sales volume, you may need to adjust your retail markup accordingly. A product with inelastic demand (where price changes have less impact on demand) can support a higher markup.

Product life cycle: Consider where the product is in its life cycle. New products may require lower initial markup rates to attract early adopters, while established products may support higher markup rates.

Also, it is sometimes necessary to lower the retail markup on products that must be sold quickly. For example, one way to quickly sell food that is about to expire is to put discounts and therefore reduce the retail markup of these food products.

Your profit margin goals: Determine the desired profit margin. Your retail markup should align with your profit margin goals, while taking into account the overall financial health of your business.

Types of products: Luxury goods, like jewelry, can have markups of 100% to 300% and even higher markups. Products that are supposed to be more affordable have lower markups. Food, for example, has a retail markup varying between 1% and 20%. Clothing has retail markups between 50% and 100%, and sometimes even more for designer fashion items.

The best way to calculate retail markup is to learn by trial and error and analyze your costs, understand the market, and consider all of the factors mentioned above. Continuously monitor your results and adjust your retail markups as necessary to ensure your pricing strategy remains effective and aligned with your business goals.

The Retail Markup on Used Products

Used products are usually less expensive than new products. Retail markups are also lower. The 50-30-10 rule is sometimes useful in determining prices for used products. Unused products may be sold at 50% of their original retail price, slightly worn products at 30% and heavily used or worn products at 10%.

It is important to note that there is no hard-and-fast rule or magic recipe to determine the price of all used products. It is necessary to take into account the perception of the customers of the value of the items, the existing demand for these products, the elasticity of the demand, the competition, the profit goals, but also the following factors:

Condition : The condition of the used product plays an important role in the price. If the product is in excellent condition and shows minimal signs of having been used, you will be able to justify a higher markup. On the other hand, products with apparent wear require a lower markup to attract buyers.

The brand and rarity of the product: The brand and rarity of the product can influence its value. Well-known brands and hard-to-find second-hand products allow for a higher retail markup. Some used items sell at very high prices if they are collectibles.

Similar sales: Research recent sales of similar used products to understand the price range in the market. This will help you assess whether the proposed retail markup is reasonable.

Age and obsolescence: Consider the age of the product and whether it is still relevant or if newer models have replaced it. Older products require a lower markup to attract buyers.

Repairs and refurbishments: If you have invested in repairs or refurbishments to improve the condition of the product, you may be able to justify a higher markup to reflect the added value.

The possibility of negotiations: Keep in mind that buyers of second-hand goods often expect some room for negotiation. Setting your initial retail markup slightly higher than the target sale price allows you to negotiate while earning your desired profit.

There are also tools to help retailers determine prices for used items. For example, if you sell used video games, PriceCharting is a very useful tool to know at what price to sell the games. PriceCharting helps to know the market value and sell the video games at an appropriate price.

Also, some POS software offers the option to serialize products, which is very useful for tracking products individually. Alice POS, for example, allows you to assign a unique inventory number. This is useful for assigning different prices to identical products.

PriceCharting is also integrated with Alice POS. Find out here why Alice POS is a great POS software for video game stores.

The Retail Markup on Products on Consignment

Consignment sale is based on a business model where a seller entrusts his merchandise to a retailer for the latter to sell it in exchange for a portion of the profit made. Since the retailer earns a commission on the sale of the products instead of directly buying the products, the traditional notion of markup does not apply in the same way.

In consignment selling, the retailer and seller negotiate a commission percentage or fee that the retailer will receive when selling the consignment items. This commission can be a percentage of the final sale price or a fixed amount. The commission percentage usually ranges from 30% to 50%.

The seller and the retailer must agree on a price and a percentage of the commission fair to both parties. The price and percentage of commission depend on the type of products, the brand awareness, the demand, the condition of the product, the effort required by the retailer to sell the product and the competition, among other factors.

One method of determining the sale price of a consignment item is to take the original sale price, divide it by 3, then add or subtract 10% depending on the details that influence the product’s appeal.

For example, if the original sale price of a brand new sweater from a well-known brand is $60, this product should have a maximum consignment price of $26 (one third of 60 = 20 + 10% of 60 [6] = $26). If this sweater is damaged, then it may sell for around $14 (20 – 10% of 60 [6] = $14).

How to Track the Retail Markup of Goods?

The best way to calculate the retail markup of products is to have a good point of sale software. The advanced reports feature that some POS software, such as Alice POS, offer allows you to know a lot of information, in particular the margins on the products. This kind of software automatically calculates the retail markup. No more calculation errors and no more need to calculate it yourself!

How to Calculate the Retail Markup?

The formula for calculating the retail markup is as follows:


  • Selling price (excluding taxes) is the price at which the product is sold to the consumer.
  • Unit cost (excluding taxes) is the sum of all costs directly associated with the production or acquisition of the product, including manufacturing costs, purchase costs, shipping and any other related expenses .

For example, if the unit cost of a product is $25 and the selling price is $40, then the calculation for the retail markup would be:

So this product would have a retail markup of 60%. If we wanted to have this retail markup for an item whose unit cost is $25, we would have to multiply the unit cost by 1.6.

25*1,6 = $40

It would therefore be necessary to sell this product for $40 to obtain the desired profit.

In conclusion, the retail markup is a powerful tool that can guide your business decisions, help you optimize your prices, manage your costs and ensure the sustainable growth of your business. Understanding how to easily calculate retail markup is a valuable asset for any entrepreneur or store manager. The retail markup is very useful for making strategic decisions for the future of your business.

See What Alice POS Can do For You

No obligation. No fees.