Retail Dogma

Quarter to Date (QTD)

Quarter to Date (QTD) is a term used in reporting, to express the period between the beginning of the quarter, up to the date of reporting.


If the business follows a normal calendar year that starts on the 1st of January and wants to report financial results for the current quarter up to the end of May, the term Quarter to Date (QTD) for this report would mean the results from 1st of April till 31st of May

If the report wants to show both, the year to date (YTD) results and the quarter to date (QTD) results in two separate columns, then the report will be showing the following:

YTD = results from 1st of Jan to 31st of May

QTD = results from 1st of April to 31st of May

What is Quarter and Quarterly?

Since the year consists of 12 months, a quarter is a 3 months period; and the year consists of 4 quarters. The term quarterly means every 3 months.

When Does the Quarter Start?

The start of the quarter depends on whether the company follows a calendar year (starting 1st of Jan) or a fiscal year.

If the company follows a calendar year the following are the dates of each quarter

Q1January 1st to March 31st
Q2April 1st to June30th
Q3July 1st to September 30th
Q4October 1st to December 31st

Quarter to Date (QTD) in Retail Reporting

QTD is used in various reports in retail reporting, such as:

It is usually combined with other terms, such as MTD and YTD to show the full picture. The same report will often show the result for the month (MTD) and quarter (QTD) and the year (TYD).

This allows for a better like for like comparison and spotting of any trends or shifts that are happening.

Because retail is a seasonal business, quarterly reporting and budgeting are especially important to form a realistic expectation on the level of sales relevant to the season.

For example, for many retail businesses, the fourth quarter (Q4) will typically have the highest sales due to the holiday season, and so the budgeting and planning for sales, inventory buying and cash flow should be done accordingly.

Access our members area and learn how to create a realistic sales budget, that will form the basis of your entire financial planning for the year. Learn how to build on this sales budget and create a full financial plan.

Quarter to Date & Budget Achievement

Another reason to combine the QTD together with the regular daily and monthly sales report is to zoom out on the full quarter and see how the business is performing at that level, regardless of the monthly or daily performance.

For example, the business might be missing out on February sales, but because the performance in Jan was exceptionally high and it achieved 130% in Jan, the total achievement QTD is still on target.

On the other hand, the business might be doing very well in Feb, but due to underperformance in Jan there is still a lot of catch up to do to reach the target.

This will help determine any corrective actions that might be needed to lift sales or clear built-up inventory

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