Define: Return On Sales

UK Accounting Glossary

Definition: Return On Sales


Full Definition of Return On Sales

Return On Sales (ROS) is a popular ratio used to evaluate a company’s operational efficiency as well as its profitability. Return On Sales reflects how resourcefully each dollar of sales revenue is used, and how well the company manages costs. ROS is also known as a company’s Operating Profit Margin.

A higher Return On Sales indicates that a company is likely to cope well with circumstances such as a sales downturn, increasing costs, or a fall in prices;  and how a company may fare when entering into a price war. ROS can be helpful in analyzing companies with seasonal income patterns, or those with substantial depreciating assets or capital investment.

Note that ROS does not reveal any information about sales costs, overheads, labour or materials. ROS varies greatly depending on the sector concerned. For instance, supermarkets depend on high volume sales and will consequently tend to report lower returns. Return On Sales has long been a significant ratio in the retail sector.


Synonyms For Return On Sales


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Modern Language Association (MLA):
Return On Sales. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. March 29, 2020
Chicago Manual of Style (CMS):
Return On Sales. Payroll & Accounting Heaven Ltd. (accessed: March 29, 2020).
American Psychological Association (APA):
Return On Sales. Retrieved March 29, 2020, from website:

Definition Sources

Definitions for Return On Sales are sourced/syndicated and enhanced from:

  • A Dictionary of Economics (Oxford Quick Reference)
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Accounting
  • Oxford Dictionary Of Business & Management

This glossary post was last updated: 22nd March 2020.