The term like-for-like (LFL) growth has a fairly well defined meaning in retail and similar sectors. It has a less well defined meaning in some other sectors


In the context of retailers, the term like-for-like growth, means growth after to the stripping out of the effects of expansion and shop closures. Most companies in the FTSE general retailers and food & drug retailers sectors disclose like-for-like numbers - at least like-for-like sales growth.

Like-for-like growth is usually calculated by measuring the increase or decrease at stores that have been open for at least two years.

It is not uncommon for the definition of like-for-like to vary: for example, to exclude shops that have been significantly expanded or refitted, or excluding new openings over different time scales. The phrase "same store sales" has a similar meaning but it definition tends to vary more.

Other sectors

The term LFL is also used in other sectors. With pubs and restaurants the meaning is the same. In other sectors it may refer to stripping out the effects of other distorting factors such as exchange rate fluctuations and acquisitions or disposals or whole businesses. In some cases it may have a similar meaning to organic growth.

One common adjustment is the exclusion of sales of newly launched products or services. Like-for-like means a measure of growth from the business as it was. For example, a media company may exclude newly launched publications or channels, or a manufacturer may exclude new products.