What is Distressed Stock or Inventory

Slow selling or redundant merchandise is termed as distressed. Closing or jobbing out distressed merchandise will improve both liquidity and cash flow.

How Stock / Inventory is Calculated

The balance sheet valuation of the stock or inventory of a business is either at cost or fair market value, whichever is the lower.

Among their statutory duties of care, auditors have to establish which of these should apply when conducting the annual audit. Stock / inventory items that are slow moving for example will be written down in value or written off altogether if they are perceived to be redundant. This is distressed inventory, the value of which comes straight off the bottom line.

When creating profit, cashflow and balance sheet forecasts using Figurewizard.com the the gross profit margin should always reflect a true value of stock once any distressed stock has been or is to be written off.

Examples of Distressed Inventory

An obvious example of distress is of perishable goods carrying an expired sell by date.

Other examples will include fashion items, character merchandise or anything seasonal, for example in the fashion trades with a life cycle perceived as being for less than a year. That makes regularly reviewing the true values of such stock / inventory items crucial. Accurate calculation for working capital and operating cash flow depends on this being done.

For that reason it is always a good idea to act early to job or close-out merchandise as soon as it starts to show its age.

Stock / Inventory Liquidity and Cash Flow

Maintaining inflated stock / inventory valuations may appear to benefit the profit and loss account and create an impression of liquidity by overstating working capital but that won't help once the bills fall due for payment.

In any case the likely presence of redundant or excessive stock in a balance sheet can easily be determined by the quick ratio, also known as the acid test. This calculates working capital omitting the value of stock / inventory.

This is an important ratio often used by banks and other senior lenders / investors to assess the true state of a company's liquidity.

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