Like-For-Like Sales

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DEFINITION of 'Like-For-Like Sales'

A comparison of this year's sales to last year's sales in a particular company, taking into consideration only those activities that were in effect during both time periods. Like-for-like sales is a method of valuation that attempts to exclude any effects of expansion, acquisition or any other event that artificially enlarge a company's sales. Companies may disclose like-for-like sales for various time periods, such as quarterly and yearly.

BREAKING DOWN 'Like-For-Like Sales'

Like-for-like sales help companies and investors determine the sales performance over a certain period of time when compared to the same period of time one year earlier, such as comparing the second quarter of 2012 to the second quarter of 2011. Like-for-like sales are typically represented as a percentage of growth or a dip in sales. For example, company ABC may report a 3.1% rise in like-for-like sales for the first quarter (this year over last year).

Critics of like-for-like sales figures cite the lack of an industry standard for determining the measurement, which means that it is challenging for investors to compare like-for-like sales between two or more retailers. In addition, critics maintain that like-for-like sales are not indicative of the strength of the wider retail economy.

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