Q1. Which of the following types of firms do you expect to have particularly high or low asset turnover?
Supermarket – High asset turnover. Supermarkets tend to be high volume businesses. Many of the food products in supermarkets are perishable, and freshness is often used to differentiate products, forcing a certain amount of inventory turnover. The typical consumer buys groceries on a regular basis, guaranteeing grocery stores a certain level of overall business. Apart from inventories, supermarkets largest assets are its warehouses and stores, all constructed to be relatively inexpensive. Thus, high sales volumes generate a high measured level of asset turnover.
Pharmaceutical Company – High asset turnover. Drugs typically have a limited shelf life. Once past their expiration date, drugs cannot be sold and are worthless. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies try to limit production to quantities that will likely be sold before the expiration date. Pharmaceutical company’s assets are relatively low for two reasons. First, its investment in research and development is expensed rather than recorded as an asset on the company’s books. Second, patents do not typically show up as assets on the pharmaceutical company’s books. Thus, high sales combined with lower reported asset levels generate a high measured level of asset turnover.
Jewellery Retailer – low asset turnover. Jewellery is typically durable, expensive and infrequently purchased by most consumers. Jewellery is also a strongly differentiated product. A single jewellery store may carry over 150 different styles of a product (eg a watch). The consumer will choose one watch from among the entire selection. Hence the jewellery store must maintain a large inventory to support its sales. Because the jewellery stores main asset is inventory, which has a slow rate of turnover, the typical jewellery store will show low asset turnover.
Steel company – low asset turnover. Production of steel is...
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