Retail Interactive Methodology : Data and definitions

Sales data

Sales are as reported in company accounts. We have made no adjustment for 53-week years, although where there has been a major takeover or a non-standard accounting period we have estimated an annualised figure. All sales figures can be viewed in local currency, US dollar, UK sterling or euro equivalent.

Where possible, we exclude all sales of non-retail businesses, but we include all the turnover of retail businesses, even when they include “non-retail” turnover such as NHS income or fuel sales.   In some cases, we have had to estimate sales as company accounts for that period have not yet been filed. As these results are filed, estimates are removed.

All company sales are quoted exclusive of sales tax. The majority or retailers report sales excluding VAT, (exceptions include Migros and Coop Schweiz) though voluntary groups that publish an estimate of total retail sales generally do so including VAT.

Financial definitions

Year-ends: Columns headed 2013/14 for example, include all year-ends between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014. As most retailers have years ending in December, January or March, this means that the column headed 2013/14 approximates to the outcome for the 2013 calendar year and allows for proper comparisons between companies with differing year-ends.

We quote both operating profit and pre-tax profit.

  • Operating profit is trading profit after normal operating costs, but before interest and exceptional items.
  • Pre-tax profit is operating profit less net interest payable and exceptional costs, but before tax.

Subsidiary accounts: We use the breakdowns published in the company accounts, though sometimes (eg Bhs) we have used subsidiary accounts as filed at Companies House.  Subsidiary accounts should be treated with a degree of caution. Balance sheet figures are particularly suspect as holding companies can move funds around to suit their own tax position and for that reason profitability can also be unreliable.

Sales per sq m (or sq ft, as the case may be) and sales per outlet are computed on the average size/store number during the year. We believe that this is the best way to remove the distortion from a rapid opening/closure programme. We have, otherwise, made no attempt to adjust for the timing of openings.

Sales area figures are quoted net, i.e. they exclude storage and office space. 


In general we have classified retailers according to SIC (Standard Industrial Classification of Economic Activities) categories as used by official statistics offices. 

European retailers - inclusion criteria

By its very nature, compiling data for European retailers is a much more complex task than compiling data for UK retailers, primarily due to differences between countries in terms of reporting procedures. As far as is practicable, Mintel has attempted to present corporate data that is as comparable as possible.

We aim to include all major European retailers but cannot be as comprehensive as in the UK.

Buying access to data for the top 300 European retailers without buying access to UK retailers allows the user to view data and analysis for the 300 retailers in Europe with the highest sales. There are more than 300 top European retailers in the database - we include, for example, those retailers with a significant network of outlets outside their domestic market but access to these records is restricted to those who subscribe to the product in its entirety.

Users with access to data for the top 300 European retailers only should note that all "European" data relate solely to those top 300 retailers by sales.

  • So, for example, if a user were to generate a table of the top retailers in Denmark, it would relate only to those companies in the top 300 that operate in Denmark; it is not a complete list of all the top retailers in Denmark.
  • Similarly, if a user were to generate a table of Europe's top retailers by sector, it would relate to those players within the overall top 300; it would not be a complete list of the players in each sector.

Clearly, in many instances, this will equate to the same thing, but users should be aware that certain key domestic players may not be included.

Buying groups

We have excluded buying groups from the analysis, although some voluntary groups are included. This is a grey area, and as a guide we have looked at the degree of central control exerted by the organisation on the retailers affiliated to it and to what extent affiliated retailers trade under a uniform brand or fascia.

Therefore we only include such groups if they look like a multiple to customers.  Thus, we have included groups such as Leclerc, Intermarché and Edeka, as well as the likes of Expert and Intersport in non-food, but have excluded buying groups such as IFA, Selex and Euromadi in the grocery sector and Begros and Euretco in non-food. 

Rounding errors

Users may occasionally note that the sum of subsidiaries listed does not equal the total given. There are a number of possible reasons for this:

  • Currency conversions if original data for different subsidiaries was in different currencies (companies often provide information in local currencies).
  • Sales tax - if original data was provided gross (including sales tax), we have extracted sales tax at the relevant rates for countries concerned and at the appropriate rates depending on product categories sold.
  • Information on all subsidiaries is not always available. As a result in some cases we have an entry for the parent company, and subsidiary information on only one part of the business.

Accounting principles and practices

In more general terms users should note that accounting procedures vary considerably by country and that these differences in themselves make comparing companies from different countries a difficult task.

Every country has different accounting standards - due to differences in legal systems and business customs - and these can affect how figures are drawn up. As an example, in Germany and France, accounts are drawn up for statutory purposes and are the basis for computing tax. The UK model is fundamentally different - accounts are published for shareholders and taxation is controlled by law in a way which is independent of published accounts. As a result many German and French companies look to minimise reported profits in order to minimise taxation, while UK companies strive to maximise reported profits.

Comparing the profitability of companies using such different methods is clearly fraught with complications. 


In compiling this data, Mintel has drawn upon a variety of sources. These include published annual reports and accounts, other information direct from companies, trade press coverage and other published sources of information, to which Mintel is grateful for permission to reproduce information. These include the following:

  • Dähne Verlag (European DIY Retailers)
  • Kehittyvä Kauppa Kaupan Tekijat (Finland)
  • Market Vem är Vem (Sweden)
  • Ra Si ry (Finland)
  • Anuario de Drogueria y Perfumeria (Spain)

For more information on any retailer included in this website, users should note that Mintel includes a large number of more detailed profiles in our European retailing reports.