What is a Merchandise Sales Variance Report?

Merchandise Sales Variance Reports are considered product sales analysis tools and are used by sales and merchandise managers to monitor variances in sales compared to the same month in the prior year. Some of the main functionality in this type of report is that it shows columns with sales and percent variance for the current month compared to the same period in the prior year. The rows show different product categories grouped and sub-totaled by clothing and non-clothing items. You find an example of this type of report below.

Purpose of Product Sales Reports

Sports organizations use Product Sales Reports to easily analyze the sales performance of different merchandise items. When used as part of good business practices in Sales and FP&A departments, an organization can improve its product strategies and increase revenues, and it can reduce the chances that excessive inventory builds up (or the opposite) due to poor visibility into product sales trends.

Example of a Product Sales Report

Here is an example of a Merchandise Sales Report with monthly variance analysis by product group.

Example of a Merchandise Sales Variance Report for Professional Sports Teams

Example of a Merchandise Sales Variance Report for Professional Sports Teams

You can find hundreds of additional examples here

Who Uses This Type of Report?

The typical users of this type of report are: product managers, merchandise managers, buyers, sales managers, store managers.

Other Reports Often Used in Conjunction with Product Sales Reports

Progressive Sales and FP&A departments sometimes use several different Product Sales Reports, along with detailed product sales reports, sales forecasts, sales by store reports, profit & loss reports and other management and control tools.

Where Does the Data for Analysis Originate From?

The Actual (historical transactions) data typically comes from enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems like: Microsoft Dynamics 365 (D365) Finance, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central (D365 BC), Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, Sage Intacct, Sage 100, Sage 300, Sage 500, Sage X3, SAP Business One, SAP ByDesign, Acumatica, Netsuite and others.

In analyses where budgets or forecasts are used, the planning data most often originates from in-house Excel spreadsheet models or from professional corporate performance management (CPM/EPM) solutions.

What Tools are Typically used for Reporting, Planning and Dashboards?

Examples of business software used with the data and ERPs mentioned above are:

  • Native ERP report writers and query tools
  • Spreadsheets (for example Microsoft Excel)
  • Corporate Performance Management (CPM) tools (for example Solver)
  • Dashboards (for example Microsoft Power BI and Tableau)

Corporate Performance Management (CPM) Cloud Solutions and More Examples