A buzzword that refers to a retail firm's comparable same-store sales. Comps compare the degree of revenue growth/decline that a firm's stores achieve relative to their sales in previous years. Sales numbers from stores that have been operating for more than a full year are used in the comparison.

The metric can be used by investors to help determine what portion of new sales has come from sales growth and what portion from the opening of new stores. Comps are usually released by companies on a monthly basis.

Also known as "comparable same-store sales."

For example, if XYZ Corp.'s comps for May 2007 are up 10%, this means that each of XYZ's stores, on average, earned 10% more revenue than during May 2006.

Analysts typically like to hear that a firm's comps are rising each period, because this is a good indication that the firm's consumers are willing to pay more for goods compared to the previous period and/or to come to the store more often (and spend more or less the same amount). The key is that the firm is seeing an increase in revenue without resorting to opening new stores.

Investment dictionary. . 2012.

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