Analyzing Sales (Revenue) History

You'll be most productive starting your analysis with sales growth, since it's the crucial ingredient of long-term growth. First analyze long-term sales growth trends and then zero in on the most recent data.

MSN Money's 10-Year Summary report is a good resource for long-term sales data. Table 11-2 shows the data for a variety of companies.

Looking at the big picture gives you perspective. For instance, many gurus consider Gillette to be a growth company, but the shaver-maker's last meaningful growth year was 1996. You'd have to go back to 1995 to see real growth from Coca Cola, also considered by many to be a growth stalwart. A similar story for Intel, whose last big growth year was 1997. Of the biggies listed, ...

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