How to Calculate Retail Shrink

by Carter McBride; Updated September 26, 2017
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In accounting, shrink or shrinkage is when you have loss of inventory. This loss of inventory is usually due to theft. It can also be due to items spoiling or being broken or damaged. Shrink is an important calculation because it tells you how much of your inventory is missing and when inventory is missing, you cannot sell it to make money. This leads to a loss from the inventory since you needed to originally purchase it and pay to store it.

Step 1

Look up your inventory per your books. This is the amount of inventory you should have on hand. The inventory per the books takes beginning inventory, adds in purchases of inventoryand subtracts sold inventory to calculate your ending inventory. For example, assume your inventory is $500 at the end of the year per the books.

Step 2

Count your inventory by hand. In the example, assume your counted inventory is $450.

Step 3

Subtract your counted inventory from your ending inventory per your books to calculate shrinkage. In the example, $500 minus $450 equals $50, so $50 of inventory is missing.

About the Author

Carter McBride started writing in 2007 with CMBA's IP section. He has written for Bureau of National Affairs, Inc and various websites. He received a CALI Award for The Actual Impact of MasterCard's Initial Public Offering in 2008. McBride is an attorney with a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University and a Master of Science in accounting from the University of Connecticut.

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