How to Value a Retail Store

November 8, 2023

Adam Hoeksema

Understanding the value of a retail business is essential, whether you're a business owner looking to sell or a potential buyer. In this guide, we will delve into the fundamental aspects of valuing a retail business. We will examine the critical factors that impact valuation and the specific valuation methods commonly employed within the retail industry by addressing the following questions:

What Are the Most Common Valuation Methods for Retail Businesses

Evaluating a business entails closely examining its financial and operational dimensions. For a thorough analysis, you might want to refer to our guide, 'How to Determine the Value of a Business’.

Various methods exist to calculate a business's value, and the ideal approach often relates to the business's distinct nature and industry:

1. Asset-Based Valuation

Rationale: This straightforward approach calculates a retail business's value based on its current assets minus any liabilities.

Usage:Tangible Assets: Includes physical items like store fixtures, inventory, cash registers, and real estate.

Intangible Assets: Encompasses non-physical items such as brand equity, trademarks, and customer loyalty.

Net Asset Value: Achieved by subtracting the retail business's liabilities from its assets.

2. Income-Based Valuation

Rationale: Focuses on the earnings power of a retail business, considering its revenue generation and profitability.

Usage: Discounted Cash Flow (DCF): Involves forecasting the retail business's future cash flows and discounting them back to their present value at a rate that reflects the risk involved.

Capitalization of Earnings: This method calculates the expected normal earnings of the retail business and divides them by a capitalization rate that assesses risk and return on investment.

3. Market-Based Valuation

Rationale: This method values a retail business by comparing it to similar businesses in the same industry or geographic location.

Usage:Comparative Ratios: Applies industry-standard ratios, such as price-to-earnings or price-to-sales, to the retail business's financials to estimate its value.

Recent Transactions: Looks at the sale prices of comparable retail businesses to determine a market-based valuation, taking into account factors like size, location, and market position.

How to Calculate the Value of a Retail Business

To offer clear and actionable insights, we'll examine various valuation methods using a hypothetical retail business, SelectMart, as our case study.

1. Asset-Based Valuation for SelectMart:

Identify and Value Tangible Assets:

  • Inventory: $500,000
  • Store Fixtures: $150,000
  • Point of Sale Systems: $50,000
  • Real Estate (if owned): $750,000

Identify and Value Intangible Assets:

Brand Value: $300,000

Customer Goodwill: $200,000

Calculate Liabilities:

  • Supplier Debt: $100,000
  • Bank Loans: $400,000

Calculate Net Asset Value:

  • Total Assets (Tangible + Intangible): $500,000 + $150,000 + $50,000 + $750,000 + $300,000 + $200,000 = $1,950,000
  • Total Liabilities: $100,000 + $400,000 = $500,000
  • Net Asset Value: $1,950,000 - $500,000 = $1,450,000

Using the Asset-Based Valuation, SelectMart's value would be approximately $1,450,000.

2. Income-Based Valuation for SelectMart:

Forecast Future Cash Flows:

  • Year 1: $400,000
  • Year 2: $450,000
  • Year 3: $500,000
  • Year 4: $550,000
  • Year 5: $600,000

Identify the Discount Rate:

  • Let's assume a discount rate of 12%.

Calculate Discounted Cash Flows:

  • Year 1 DCF = $400,000 / (1 + 0.12) = $357,143
  • ...Continue the same for each year.

Estimate Terminal Value and Discount to Present Value:

  • Assuming a growth rate of 3% post-Year 5:
  • Terminal Value = [$600,000 x (1 + 0.03)] / (0.12 - 0.03) = $7,000,000
  • Discounted Terminal Value = $7,000,000 / (1 + 0.12)^5 = $3,924,419

Sum Up All Values for Total Value:

  • Total DCF for 5 Years: $1,900,000 (hypothetical sum of DCFs for 5 years)
  • Total Value of SelectMart = $1,900,000 + $3,924,419 = $5,824,419

SelectMart, according to the Income-Based Valuation, would be valued at approximately $5,824,419.

3. Market-Based Valuation for SelectMart:

Use Comparative Ratios:

  • Let's say retail businesses like SelectMart typically have a P/E ratio of 9 and a P/S ratio of 2.

Calculate Based on Earnings and Sales:

  • With net earnings of $300,000, using P/E: $300,000 x 9 = $2,700,000
  • With annual sales of $2 million, using P/S: $2,000,000 x 2 = $4,000,000

Consider Recent Transactions:

If similar retail stores sell for 3x their annual profit, then: $300,000 x 3 = $900,000

Calculate Market-Based Value:

  • Combine the three values: $2,700,000 (P/E) + $4,000,000 (P/S) + $900,000 (Recent Transactions) = $7,600,000
  • Divide by the number of valuation methods used: $7,600,000 / 3 = $2,533,333

SelectMart's market-based estimated value would be approximately $2,533,333.

How to Buy a Retail Business

How to Buy a Retail Business

Retail businesses form the backbone of the consumer economy, offering a direct channel to shoppers. Interested in entering the retail market? Here’s an outline to navigate the initial steps. For a complete walkthrough, refer to our guide on How to Buy a Small Business.

Retail Business Industry Overview

The retail sector is a substantial component of the US economy, representing a significant percentage of annual GDP. With consumer spending patterns shifting and e-commerce on the rise, the industry is ripe with opportunities for both brick-and-mortar and online retail businesses. Innovation and consumer experience are key drivers in this competitive landscape.

Retail Business Acquisition Costs

Investment requirements for retail businesses vary widely, depending on the scale and location. Starting a new retail outlet might require an investment ranging from $50,000 to well over $1 million. Purchasing an existing retail business is often calculated at around two to six times its annual earnings, contingent on the business's financial health and market position.

Choosing the Ideal Retail Business

Commence your search by consulting with retail business brokers, browsing online business-for-sale listings, or scouting for potential sales in desired locations. Consider critical factors like foot traffic, store layout, brand value, and the current retail mix. Look for businesses with growth potential or those that align with your vision.

Find Funding

Financing options for retail businesses include personal funds, small business loans, or seeking out investors. A detailed retail store business plan, complete with revenue forecasts and a clear strategy, will be essential when presenting to potential financial partners.

Conducting Due Diligence

Carefully examine the business’s financials, inventory management, supplier agreements, and customer base. Review the condition of any physical assets and understand the lease terms if the business is in a rented space. This due diligence is crucial for negotiating terms that reflect the true value of the business.

Closing the Deal

After a thorough assessment and due diligence, negotiate the purchase terms. Confirm that you are fully informed about the financial and operational aspects of the business before finalizing the acquisition. With careful planning and strategic negotiation, you can successfully transition into retail business ownership.

Eyeing a retail store purchase? A QofE Sniff Test can help ensure your investment is as solid as the foundation it's built on.

How to Fund the Acquisition of a Retail Business

Venturing into retail ownership? The Small Business Administration (SBA) loan is a favored option for many entrepreneurs. Retail businesses typically qualify for SBA loans due to their operational model. For a deeper look, explore the SBA Funding for Retail Business Acquisition resource. 

When you're ready to apply, make sure to spotlight your retail management experience and any leadership roles you've previously held. For those taking over an existing store, it's advantageous to present the business's financial history and performance to showcase its viability. Lenders look for applicants with a proven ability to run a successful retail operation.

Maintaining a strong credit history is key since it's a major factor in securing loan approval. Prepare a detailed business plan that includes your strategies for inventory management, customer service, and growth initiatives. This will show lenders your commitment and readiness to elevate the retail business. Additionally, consulting with financial advisors or those with experience in retail acquisitions can provide valuable perspectives. Their advice can guide your financial decisions and potentially lead to a more successful transition into retail business ownership.

Creating Financial Projections for a Retail Business Acquisition

Each retail business possesses distinct operational features, from inventory mix to customer traffic patterns. When creating financial projections for buying or selling a retail business, focus on:

Gather Historical Data: Review past sales records, inventory turnover, expenses, and net profit.

Analyze Physical Assets: Evaluate the condition and value of store fixtures, displays, technology systems, and the store premises.

Forecast Revenue: Consider factors such as existing customer base, foot traffic, seasonal trends, and potential for e-commerce expansion.

Project Expenses: Estimate costs for inventory procurement, staffing, store maintenance, marketing, and other operational expenses.

Determine Valuation: Combine all financial data, possibly using valuation methods like discounted cash flow (DCF) or asset-based valuations.

Using a tailored retail store or an acquisition financial template can facilitate this process. This template brings together income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow forecasts. With this detailed financial analysis, you are equipped to negotiate the value of the retail business effectively with potential buyers or sellers.

I hope this has been informative. If you have questions about valuing your specific retail business, don't hesitate to contact us!

About the Author

Adam is the Co-founder of ProjectionHub which helps entrepreneurs create financial projections for potential investors, lenders and internal business planning. Since 2012, over 50,000 entrepreneurs from around the world have used ProjectionHub to help create financial projections.

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