Home Depot Case Study

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The 3 percent decline in sales causing a 21 percent decline in profits can be attributed to the identification of the accounting concept of operating leverage. Operating leverage is what business managers apply to boost small changes in revenue into sizable changes in profitability. Fixed cost is the force managers use to attain disproportionate changes between revenue and profitability. Therefore, when all costs are fixed every sales dollar contributes one dollar toward the potential profitability of a project. Once sales dollars cover fixed costs, each additional sales dollar represents pure profit. A small change in sales volume can significantly affect profitability (Edmonds, Tsay, & Olds, 2011). So, therefore, if sales volume increases, …show more content…

The concept is useful when a significant proportion of sales are at risk of a decreasing, which may be the case when a sales contract is coming to an end. Therefore, a small margin of safety might prompt measures in which to reduce expenses. Margin of safety is especially useful in situations where huge segments of a company 's sales are at risk, such as when they are tied up in a single customer contract that may be canceled. In the case of Home Depot’s situation, as its revenue fell during the first six months of 2007, some of its costs probably fell as well; an example would be cost of goods sold. So for instance, if Home Depot was selling fewer goods, than it was purchasing hardly any goods as well. A prime example of how the decline in sales affected Home Depot’s margin of safety is with the depreciation charge for its stores and warehouses would probably not decrease as revenue fell, since these costs are fixed in connection to sales volume. Furthermore, not all costs are decreasing as sales decline, total expenses as a percentage of sales are rising, causing the percentage change in net earnings to decline faster than the percentage decline in sales. Unless there is some major change in a company’s fixed cost structure, a decrease in a company’s sales means that its net earnings will be closer to its break-even point, effectively lowering its margin of safety. LIkewise, margin of safety is the difference between budgeted sales and the break-even point, not actual sales and break-even sales. Thus, if Home Depot did not change its budgeted sales, one might contend that its margin of safety did not change, but realistically it has a lower margin of safety due to the lower

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