Research & Advisory

Over & Out – Retail’s Inventory Distortion Matrix – 2022


* For all license choices and descriptions, please see pricing tab below

Product Overview

Date of PublicationAugust 23, 2022
FormatMicrosoft Excel
GeographyWorldwide or by Region

This product can be purchased in total or as a subset. The price above reflects total model cost.  Contact us for options for purchasing a subset or see demo 

IHL has been tracking the cost of overstocks and out-of-stocks for over 15 years down to the segment and region level.  Instead of relying just on what retailers tell us their systems say, IHL interviews consumers to see what is really happening. How often are they leaving the stores without purchasing something they intended to buy? Depending on the segment, this can be as high as 1 in 4 items. This model breaks down those reasons and assigns a loss figure to those individual retailers involved.

While the industry has made significant progress in some areas, the problem continues to grow as retail has grown around the world.  While in North America and Western Europe, major strides have been made in performance, worldwide the problem of inventory distortion has only grown to a $1.9Trillion issue around the world.

IHL’s Over & Out – Retail’s Inventory Distortion Matrix tracks these costs by segment around world showing historical changes and where improvements have been made and where challenges still exist. This is designed for retailers to see where the big problems are to benchmark themselves against their competition as well as for vendors that are looking that offer solutions to attack these issues.  Because of the granularity of the data, vendors can target the true costs by segment and reasons.

Data can be purchased by region and segment. Contact us to schedule a quick webinar to review. See below for more details.

We share data from the last 7 years broken into the following categories:

  • Empty shelves
  • Customers couldn’t find assistance to get items locked up or hidden
  • Customers find associates, but they cannot find the items (system says in-stock, but can’t find it)
  • Price/offer didn’t match online or ad price
  • Buying/planning Issues
  • Marketing not aligned with merchandising
  • Vendor Issues
  • Training/employee Issues
  • Spoilage/consumer Lockdown
  • Competitive price match
  • Some Other Reason

As well the index provides insight from retailers on who is to blame for the issues. Data provided for costs associated with the following:

  • Internal processes
  • Internal data/systems issues
  • Personnel issues
  • Supplier issues
  • Employee theft
  • Consumer theft
  • COVID Surge/lockdown Issues
  • Other issues

The data is provided for 4 regions of the world (North America, Europe/Middle East/Africa, Latin/South America, Asia/Pacific) to the level of the following 10 segments:

  • Food/Grocery
  • Drug Stores/Pharmacies/Perfumeries
  • Hypermarket/Supercenters/Mass Merchants
  • Department Stores
  • Specialty Soft Goods (apparel, shoes, luggage)
  • Specialty Hard Goods (DIY, books, furniture, electronics, pets, sporting goods, etc.)
  • Convenience/Gas/Forecourt
  • Bar/Table Service Restaurants
  • Fast Food
  • Other Hospitality


This is best seen as quick demo to go over options. Schedule a quick demo session here


Is this just about Empty Shelves?

No, we look at the causes of out-of-stocks and overstocks from the customer perspective which includes things like “Couldn’t find help”, “It was locked up”, “the price doesn’t match.”

Do discuss just the types of inventory distortion?  

We also include sizing of who is to blame for the issues.

Is this a report or a model?

It is spreadsheet model that allows you to sort the data by region, by segment, by cause or by blame.  We include 10 segments and 4 regions of the world.

This is best seen as quick demo to go over options. Schedule a quick demo session here

Pricing is dependent on the number of segments and number of regions. If you want all regions and segments, it is $8,000 for the full model or $2,000 for each region.  We can customize it for you.

This is best seen as quick demo to go over options.

Schedule a quick demo session here

Licenses Available

Enterprise License – a license that allows for the research to be accessed and shared internally with anyone else within the organization and wholly owned subsidiaries.

IHL Group License and Fair Use Agreement

All of IHL Group’s generally available research are electronic licenses and can be shared freely within the purchasing organization and wholly owned subsidiaries. We only ask that this information not be shared with partners or others outside the purchasing company without authorization from IHL Group. The license does not extend to joint ventures or other partnerships. If the relationship is not a wholly-owned subsidiary, then both parties would need a license.

Practically, this implies the following:

  1. The purchasing company can use the data and research worldwide internally as long as the international organizations are wholly owned subsidiaries of the purchasing company.
  2. The data or any research cannot be distributed in whole or in part to partners or customers without express written approval from IHL Group.
  3. The purchasing company may quote components of the data (limited use) in presentations to customers such as specific charts. This is limited to percentage components, not individual unit information. Unit data cannot be shared externally without express written approval from IHL Group. All references to the data in presentations should include credit to IHL Group for the data.
  4. The purchasing company can reference qualitative quotes in printed material with written approval from IHL Group.
  5. All requests requiring written approval should be submitted to ihl(at) and will be reviewed within one business day.

For any questions regarding this policy, please contact us at 1-888-IHL-6777 (North America) +1.615.591.2955 (International) or email us at ihl(at)