Operating Income to Sales Ratio


The operating income to sales ratio is a performance measure that allows analysts to understand the results from operations before unrelated items are added or subtracted.  Investor-analysts will track this ratio over time, so changes in profitability can be quickly identified.


Operating Income to Sales Ratio = Operating Income / (Net Sales - Non-Operating Income)


  • Net Sales = Gross Sales - Returns
  • Non-Operating Income:  includes items related to the company's financial activities.


Operating performance measures allow the investor-analyst to understand how well a company is performing with respect to sales, margins, and profits.  The operating income to sales ratio removes the effects of non-operating income activities, providing a clear picture of the company's ability to generate profits through its core business operations. Examples of non-operating activities include:

  • Gains and losses from investment activities
  • Sales of property or assets
  • Changes in currency exchange rates
  • Any other gain or loss that is not related to the core operating activities of the business

The operating income to sales ratio is particularly useful when a company's sales have been declining and the business may be selling off the company's assets or investments to increase net income.  Ratios that decrease over time can indicate eroding margins.


Company A's financial statements were indicating a small increase in earnings before income taxes (EBIT) over time.  However, market analysts were concerned the company's margins were eroding due to a sharp decrease in their competitor's pricing strategy.

As the table below indicates, EBIT was slowly growing, but Company A also showed a steady increase in non-operating income.  When the analyst examined Company A's operating income to sales ratio, they confirmed the portion of income derived from operations decreased from 25.8% in Year 0 to 21.6% in Year 3.

  Year 0 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Sales Revenues $25,000,000 $26,250,000 $27,563,000 $28,941,000
Operating Expenses $18,750,000 $20,063,000 $21,467,000 $22,970,000
Operating Income $6,250,000 $6,187,000 $6,096,000 $5,971,000
Non-Operating Income $750,000 $900,000 $1,080,000 $1,296,000
EBIT $7,000,000 $7,087,000 $7,176,000 $7,267,000
Operating Income to Sales 25.8% 24.4% 23.0% 21.6%

Related Terms

goodwill to assets ratio, overhead to cost of sales, revenue margin of safety, revenue break-even point, gross profit index, sales margin, investment income performance, operating profit margin