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Analysis of Inventory

Difficulty: Advanced


Inventory Accounting Policy

Merchandise inventories are stated at the lower of cost or market. U.S. merchandise inventories are valued by the cost method of accounting, using the last-in, first-out (LIFO) basis. Costco believes the LIFO method more fairly presents the results of operations by more closely matching current costs with current revenues. Costco records an adjustment each quarter, if necessary, for the projected annual effect of inflation or deflation, and these estimates are adjusted to actual results determined at year-end, after actual inflation or deflation rates and inventory levels for the year have been determined. Canadian and Other International merchandise inventories are predominantly valued using the cost and retail inventory methods, respectively, using the first-in, first-out (FIFO) basis.

As of September 3, 2017, U.S. merchandise inventories valued at LIFO approximated FIFO after considering the lower of cost or market principle. Due to net deflation, a benefit of $64 and $27 was recorded to merchandise costs in 2016, and 2015, respectively. At the end of 2017 and 2016, the cumulative impact of the LIFO valuation on merchandise inventories was zero and immaterial, respectively.

Costco provides for estimated inventory losses between physical inventory counts as a percentage of net sales, using estimates based on Costco's experience. The provision is adjusted periodically to reflect actual physical inventory counts, which generally occur in the second and fourth fiscal quarters. Inventory cost, where appropriate, is reduced by estimates of vendor rebates when earned or as Costco progresses towards earning those rebates, provided that they are probable and reasonably estimable.

Source: Costco Wholesale Corp., Annual Report


Inventory Disclosure

Costco Wholesale Corp., Statement of Financial Position, Inventory

USD $ in millions

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Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
United States 7,091  6,422  6,427  5,952  5,560  4,967 
Canada 1,040  1,015  –  –  –  – 
Other International 1,703  1,532  2,481  2,504  2,334  2,129 
Merchandise inventories 9,834  8,969  8,908  8,456  7,894  7,096 

Source: Based on data from Costco Wholesale Corp. Annual Reports

Item Description The company
Merchandise inventories Carrying amount (lower of cost or market) as of the balance sheet date of inventories less all valuation and other allowances. Excludes noncurrent inventory balances (expected to remain on hand past one year or one operating cycle, if longer). Costco Wholesale Corp.'s merchandise inventories increased from 2015 to 2016 and from 2016 to 2017.

Adjustment to Inventory: from LIFO to FIFO

Adjusting LIFO Inventory to FIFO (Current) Cost

USD $ in millions

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Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
Adjustment to Merchandise Inventories
Merchandise inventories at LIFO (as reported) 9,834  8,969  8,908  8,456  7,894  7,096 
Add: Inventory LIFO reserve –  –  82  109  81  108 
Merchandise inventories at FIFO (adjusted) 9,834  8,969  8,990  8,565  7,975  7,204 
Adjustment to Current Assets
Current assets (as reported) 17,317  15,218  17,299  17,588  15,840  13,526 
Add: Inventory LIFO reserve –  –  82  109  81  108 
Current assets (adjusted) 17,317  15,218  17,381  17,697  15,921  13,634 
Adjustment to Total Assets
Total assets (as reported) 36,347  33,163  33,440  33,024  30,283  27,140 
Add: Inventory LIFO reserve –  –  82  109  81  108 
Total assets (adjusted) 36,347  33,163  33,522  33,133  30,364  27,248 
Adjustment to Total Costco Stockholders' Equity
Total Costco stockholders' equity (as reported) 10,778  12,079  10,617  12,303  10,833  12,361 
Add: Inventory LIFO reserve –  –  82  109  81  108 
Total Costco stockholders' equity (adjusted) 10,778  12,079  10,699  12,412  10,914  12,469 
Adjustment to Net Income Attributable To Costco
Net income attributable to Costco (as reported) 2,679  2,350  2,377  2,058  2,039  1,709 
Add: Increase (decrease) in inventory LIFO reserve –  (82) (27) 28  (27) 21 
Net income attributable to Costco (adjusted) 2,679  2,268  2,350  2,086  2,012  1,730 

Costco Wholesale Corp.'s inventory value on Sep 3, 2017 would be $9,834  (in millions) if the FIFO inventory method was used instead of LIFO. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s inventories, valued on a LIFO basis, on Sep 3, 2017 were $9,834 . Costco Wholesale Corp.'s inventories would have been $–  higher than reported on Sep 3, 2017 if the FIFO method had been used instead.


Adjusted Ratios: LIFO vs. FIFO (Summary)

Costco Wholesale Corp., adjusted ratios

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Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
Current Ratio
Reported current ratio (LIFO) 0.99 0.98 1.05 1.22 1.19 1.10
Adjusted current ratio (FIFO) 0.99 0.98 1.05 1.23 1.20 1.11
Net Profit Margin
Reported net profit margin (LIFO) 2.12% 2.02% 2.09% 1.87% 1.98% 1.76%
Adjusted net profit margin (FIFO) 2.12% 1.95% 2.07% 1.89% 1.96% 1.78%
Total Asset Turnover
Reported total asset turnover (LIFO) 3.47 3.50 3.40 3.34 3.40 3.58
Adjusted total asset turnover (FIFO) 3.47 3.50 3.39 3.33 3.39 3.56
Financial Leverage
Reported financial leverage (LIFO) 3.37 2.75 3.15 2.68 2.80 2.20
Adjusted financial leverage (FIFO) 3.37 2.75 3.13 2.67 2.78 2.19
Return on Equity (ROE)
Reported ROE (LIFO) 24.86% 19.46% 22.39% 16.73% 18.82% 13.83%
Adjusted ROE (FIFO) 24.86% 18.78% 21.96% 16.81% 18.44% 13.87%
Return on Assets (ROA)
Reported ROA (LIFO) 7.37% 7.09% 7.11% 6.23% 6.73% 6.30%
Adjusted ROA (FIFO) 7.37% 6.84% 7.01% 6.30% 6.63% 6.35%
Ratio Description The company
Adjusted current ratio A liquidity ratio calculated as adjusted current assets divided by current liabilities. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted current ratio deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 but then slightly improved from 2016 to 2017.
Adjusted net profit margin An indicator of profitability, calculated as adjusted net income divided by revenue. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted net profit margin deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 but then improved from 2016 to 2017 exceeding 2015 level.
Adjusted total asset turnover An activity ratio calculated as total revenue divided by adjusted total assets. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted total asset turnover improved from 2015 to 2016 but then slightly deteriorated from 2016 to 2017.
Adjusted financial leverage A measure of financial leverage calculated as adjusted total assets divided by adjusted total equity.
Financial leverage is the extent to which a company can effect, through the use of debt, a proportional change in the return on common equity that is greater than a given proportional change in operating income.
Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted financial leverage declined from 2015 to 2016 but then increased from 2016 to 2017 exceeding 2015 level.
Adjusted ROE A profitability ratio calculated as adjusted net income divided by adjusted shareholders' equity. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted ROE deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 but then improved from 2016 to 2017 exceeding 2015 level.
Adjusted ROA A profitability ratio calculated as adjusted net income divided by adjusted total assets. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted ROA deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 but then improved from 2016 to 2017 exceeding 2015 level.

Adjusted Current Ratio

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Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
As Reported
Current assets (USD $ in millions) 17,317  15,218  17,299  17,588  15,840  13,526 
Current liabilities (USD $ in millions) 17,495  15,575  16,540  14,412  13,257  12,260 
Current ratio1 0.99 0.98 1.05 1.22 1.19 1.10
Adjusted: from LIFO to FIFO
Adjusted current assets (USD $ in millions) 17,317  15,218  17,381  17,697  15,921  13,634 
Current liabilities (USD $ in millions) 17,495  15,575  16,540  14,412  13,257  12,260 
Adjusted current ratio2 0.99 0.98 1.05 1.23 1.20 1.11

2017 Calculations

1 Current ratio = Current assets ÷ Current liabilities
= 17,317 ÷ 17,495 = 0.99

2 Adjusted current ratio = Adjusted current assets ÷ Current liabilities
= 17,317 ÷ 17,495 = 0.99

Ratio Description The company
Adjusted current ratio A liquidity ratio calculated as adjusted current assets divided by current liabilities. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted current ratio deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 but then slightly improved from 2016 to 2017.

Adjusted Net Profit Margin

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Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
As Reported
Net income attributable to Costco (USD $ in millions) 2,679  2,350  2,377  2,058  2,039  1,709 
Net sales (USD $ in millions) 126,172  116,073  113,666  110,212  102,870  97,062 
Net profit margin1 2.12% 2.02% 2.09% 1.87% 1.98% 1.76%
Adjusted: from LIFO to FIFO
Adjusted net income attributable to Costco (USD $ in millions) 2,679  2,268  2,350  2,086  2,012  1,730 
Net sales (USD $ in millions) 126,172  116,073  113,666  110,212  102,870  97,062 
Adjusted net profit margin2 2.12% 1.95% 2.07% 1.89% 1.96% 1.78%

2017 Calculations

1 Net profit margin = 100 × Net income attributable to Costco ÷ Net sales
= 100 × 2,679 ÷ 126,172 = 2.12%

2 Adjusted net profit margin = 100 × Adjusted net income attributable to Costco ÷ Net sales
= 100 × 2,679 ÷ 126,172 = 2.12%

Ratio Description The company
Adjusted net profit margin An indicator of profitability, calculated as adjusted net income divided by revenue. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted net profit margin deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 but then improved from 2016 to 2017 exceeding 2015 level.

Adjusted Total Asset Turnover

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Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
As Reported
Net sales (USD $ in millions) 126,172  116,073  113,666  110,212  102,870  97,062 
Total assets (USD $ in millions) 36,347  33,163  33,440  33,024  30,283  27,140 
Total asset turnover1 3.47 3.50 3.40 3.34 3.40 3.58
Adjusted: from LIFO to FIFO
Net sales (USD $ in millions) 126,172  116,073  113,666  110,212  102,870  97,062 
Adjusted total assets (USD $ in millions) 36,347  33,163  33,522  33,133  30,364  27,248 
Adjusted total asset turnover2 3.47 3.50 3.39 3.33 3.39 3.56

2017 Calculations

1 Total asset turnover = Net sales ÷ Total assets
= 126,172 ÷ 36,347 = 3.47

2 Adjusted total asset turnover = Net sales ÷ Adjusted total assets
= 126,172 ÷ 36,347 = 3.47

Ratio Description The company
Adjusted total asset turnover An activity ratio calculated as total revenue divided by adjusted total assets. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted total asset turnover improved from 2015 to 2016 but then slightly deteriorated from 2016 to 2017.

Adjusted Financial Leverage

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Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
As Reported
Total assets (USD $ in millions) 36,347  33,163  33,440  33,024  30,283  27,140 
Total Costco stockholders' equity (USD $ in millions) 10,778  12,079  10,617  12,303  10,833  12,361 
Financial leverage1 3.37 2.75 3.15 2.68 2.80 2.20
Adjusted: from LIFO to FIFO
Adjusted total assets (USD $ in millions) 36,347  33,163  33,522  33,133  30,364  27,248 
Adjusted total Costco stockholders' equity (USD $ in millions) 10,778  12,079  10,699  12,412  10,914  12,469 
Adjusted financial leverage2 3.37 2.75 3.13 2.67 2.78 2.19

2017 Calculations

1 Financial leverage = Total assets ÷ Total Costco stockholders' equity
= 36,347 ÷ 10,778 = 3.37

2 Adjusted financial leverage = Adjusted total assets ÷ Adjusted total Costco stockholders' equity
= 36,347 ÷ 10,778 = 3.37

Ratio Description The company
Adjusted financial leverage A measure of financial leverage calculated as adjusted total assets divided by adjusted total equity.
Financial leverage is the extent to which a company can effect, through the use of debt, a proportional change in the return on common equity that is greater than a given proportional change in operating income.
Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted financial leverage declined from 2015 to 2016 but then increased from 2016 to 2017 exceeding 2015 level.

Adjusted Return on Equity (ROE)

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Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
As Reported
Net income attributable to Costco (USD $ in millions) 2,679  2,350  2,377  2,058  2,039  1,709 
Total Costco stockholders' equity (USD $ in millions) 10,778  12,079  10,617  12,303  10,833  12,361 
ROE1 24.86% 19.46% 22.39% 16.73% 18.82% 13.83%
Adjusted: from LIFO to FIFO
Adjusted net income attributable to Costco (USD $ in millions) 2,679  2,268  2,350  2,086  2,012  1,730 
Adjusted total Costco stockholders' equity (USD $ in millions) 10,778  12,079  10,699  12,412  10,914  12,469 
Adjusted ROE2 24.86% 18.78% 21.96% 16.81% 18.44% 13.87%

2017 Calculations

1 ROE = 100 × Net income attributable to Costco ÷ Total Costco stockholders' equity
= 100 × 2,679 ÷ 10,778 = 24.86%

2 Adjusted ROE = 100 × Adjusted net income attributable to Costco ÷ Adjusted total Costco stockholders' equity
= 100 × 2,679 ÷ 10,778 = 24.86%

Ratio Description The company
Adjusted ROE A profitability ratio calculated as adjusted net income divided by adjusted shareholders' equity. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted ROE deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 but then improved from 2016 to 2017 exceeding 2015 level.

Adjusted Return on Assets (ROA)

Microsoft Excel LibreOffice Calc
Sep 3, 2017 Aug 28, 2016 Aug 30, 2015 Aug 31, 2014 Sep 1, 2013 Sep 2, 2012
As Reported
Net income attributable to Costco (USD $ in millions) 2,679  2,350  2,377  2,058  2,039  1,709 
Total assets (USD $ in millions) 36,347  33,163  33,440  33,024  30,283  27,140 
ROA1 7.37% 7.09% 7.11% 6.23% 6.73% 6.30%
Adjusted: from LIFO to FIFO
Adjusted net income attributable to Costco (USD $ in millions) 2,679  2,268  2,350  2,086  2,012  1,730 
Adjusted total assets (USD $ in millions) 36,347  33,163  33,522  33,133  30,364  27,248 
Adjusted ROA2 7.37% 6.84% 7.01% 6.30% 6.63% 6.35%

2017 Calculations

1 ROA = 100 × Net income attributable to Costco ÷ Total assets
= 100 × 2,679 ÷ 36,347 = 7.37%

2 Adjusted ROA = 100 × Adjusted net income attributable to Costco ÷ Adjusted total assets
= 100 × 2,679 ÷ 36,347 = 7.37%

Ratio Description The company
Adjusted ROA A profitability ratio calculated as adjusted net income divided by adjusted total assets. Costco Wholesale Corp.'s adjusted ROA deteriorated from 2015 to 2016 but then improved from 2016 to 2017 exceeding 2015 level.