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Q4 Sales, Transaction Count Down, Transaction Size Up Slightly in Retailer Index

Each quarter, the North American Hardware and Paint Association (NHPA), in conjunction with The Farnsworth Group, surveys independent retailers on several key operating metrics.

The Independent Retailer Index asks retailers across the U.S. about their year-over-year performance in the previous quarter and to make projections for the next quarter. The operating metrics include:

  • Transaction count and size
  • Inventory investment
  • Cost of goods
  • Total sales
  • Gross profit margin

The latest report asking retailers about performance in Q4 2023 is now available. Review some of the highlights below.

Transaction Metrics

  • More than half of retailers reported a decrease in transaction count for the quarter, the most reporting a decrease since the beginning of the report
  • For the fourth quarter in a row, transaction size ticked up slightly, representing an average change just under 1%

Inventory & Cost of Goods

  • A third of retailers reported decreasing their inventory investment during Q4, while about the same amount reported an increase. The metric has been steadily decreasing for the last five quarters.
  • Retailers were split nearly 50-50 between cost of goods increasing or staying the same and decreasing. The average net increase/decrease declined to 1.5, the second lowest for the index.

To see changes in total sales and gross profit margins and find out where retailers are investing most in Q1 2024, download the full report here.


Interested in more exclusive industry research? Join the Retailer Research Panel to participate in future research projects from NHPA and be the first to access the results.

About Melanie Moul

Melanie is the communications and content manager for the North American Hardware and Paint Association. She joined the NHPA team in 2016 as an editor for Hardware Retailing and now helps lead the communications team to deliver relevant, timely content to the industry.

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