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Dig Into Data With the 2023 Cost of Doing Business Study

The latest data you need to keep your operation on track is now available in the 2023 Cost of Doing Business Study. For over 100 years, the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA) has surveyed home improvement operators throughout the U.S. to develop the benchmark report known as the Cost of Doing Business Study. Retailers have continually relied on the data in this benchmark tool to measure their own performance against industry averages and to establish financial plans to improve profitability.

The study assesses the financial performance of home improvement retailers who graciously submit confidential financial reports from the prior fiscal year to NHPA. The study presents composite income statements and balance sheets plus averages for key financial performance ratios.

The data is segmented for hardware stores, home centers, LBM outlets and paint and decorating outlets. In each segment, data is presented for the typical store, for high-profit stores, for single-unit and multiple-unit companies and for sales volume categories. In addition, there is a five-year historical trend for typical stores in each segment except paint.


The analysis in the report is the result of extensive review by NHPA. All individual company responses are completely confidential. Most of the figures are medians. To determine high-profit stores, all participating companies are ranked based on net profit before taxes.

The high-profit companies in each segment are those that make up the top 25%. The figures reported for each of the high-profit segments represent the median for that group. It is extremely important to note that each year, the study contains figures from a different sample group of stores. That means overall figures have the potential to vary widely from year to year based on the respondent group of stores participating each year. NHPA uses year-to-year comparisons to illustrate general trends over time, not to draw specific year-over-year conclusions.

In this year’s study, 1,129 independent home improvement stores are represented in the data, a record number of participants for the study, and a 7.5% increase from last year. On the following pages, see highlights from the 2023 Cost of Doing Business Study and purchase your copy at YourNHPA.org/codb.

What’s Inside

Key performance metrics separated by store type so you can gauge your operation’s performance against industry standards including…

  • Average sales per customer
  • Annual customer count
  • Sales per employee
  • Inventory turns
  • As a percentage of sales…
    • Total payroll expenses
    • IT & communications expenses
  • As a percentage of assets…
    • Inventory
    • Accounts payable/receivable

The Cost of Doing Business Study assists with our planning process, specifically in setting future objectives. The data it provides shows us where we have done well and where we have room for improvement in relation to our peers. There is no other comprehensive source available that allows us to benchmark our performance.”

—Peter Ballhaussen, Town Hardware & General Store

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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