Blog August 22, 2023

Fun With Numbers:  Interest Rates & Inventory Carrying Costs

By Charles Fallon
August 22nd | 3 min read


This blog post examines the vital role of effective inventory controls in reducing carrying costs. Focusing on two key aspects:

  • The influence of the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike from March 2022 to July 2023 on inventory financing.

  • The carrying costs incurred as a result of a 5% increase in interest rates, as evidenced by the 2022 annual reports of five major publicly traded companies.

Mastering Inventory Controls in an Era of Rising Interest Rates: Lessons from 5 Leading Companies

I have a client who loves a good tangent and yesterday, he steered us to a favorite grumpy old man conversation:  back in our day, interest rates were just as high as today but we thought it was a pretty good deal!

And it was.  But the interest rate shock is not about the level of rates but the speed with which it got there.  Since March 2022 to July 2023, the Federal Reserve cranked it up a whopping 5%. That kind of speed makes it hard to adjust a company’s balance sheet accordingly.

To illustrate, let’s take a look at some data from 2022 annual reports of 5 publicly traded companies that are a part of our daily lives.  Suppose these companies had to finance 100% of their inventory and therefore had to scramble to cover the additional interest payments on that inventory.

Company  2022 Inventory (in billions)  Days of Supply  Additional Carrying Cost from a 5% rise in interest (in millions) 
Starbucks  $2.2  25  $110 
Wal-Mart  $56.5  36  $2,825 
Target  $13.5  46  $675 
Procter & Gamble  $7.0  32  $350 
Mondelez  $3.4  39  $170 

Combined, these 5 companies would have to pay $4.1 billion in additional interest charges to finance inventory.

This effect extends throughout the entire supply chain and sheds light on why inventory management has faced increased scrutiny in 2023. Companies are not only looking to master their sales and operations planning processes but inventory controls as well.

Why Inventory Controls Matter

As interest rates continue to fluctuate, businesses must proactively adapt their financial strategies. The impact of rising interest rates on inventory carrying costs cannot be ignored. By implementing effective inventory management practices and seeking expert guidance, companies can navigate the challenges posed by interest rate shocks and maintain financial resilience in dynamic market conditions.

Partnering with LIDD

LIDD continues to be the bane of many of our clients’ most seasoned bankers, earning a reputation for our dedication to eliminating flabby inventory from their supply chains. If you’re tired of being weighed down by excess stock and high interest payments, then it’s time to team up with us. Let’s work together to lower your interest payments too!


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Annual Report Starbucks
Annual Report Wal-Mart 
Annual Report Target
Annual Report Proctor & Gamble
Annual Report Mondelez

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