costing analysis for towels & more

Activity Based Costing Analysis for Towels & More

Common costs refer to the cost of resources used by multiple divisions, departments, or another type of grouping. These types of overhead costs are not only incurred within a profit center, but in many other parts of the organization. One example is overhead or common fixed costs for distribution and client support. We're using the latter for some hands-on experience in allocating common costs and analyzing the implications for T&M. Information follows below.

Towels & More (T&M) is a small family company that produces and sells towels. T&M sells the towels to three types of stores: major retailers, specialty retailers and gift shops. The company is doing well and the CEO wants to expand the business. The contribution margin ratio is the highest for the small gift shops, so the CEO feels that those are the type of retail outlets to pursue.

Below find T&M’s income statement for last year.

Towels & More

For the year ended 12-31-XX



Variable Production Costs


Contribution Margin


Fixed Costs:

Production Overhead


Sellling & Distribution Costs



Net Operating Income



Customer support & distribution costs are pretty high at T&M. The total amount was $240,000 last year. The marketing manager has recently been to a seminar and learned about applying ABC to analyze customer and distribution costs. He suggests that the company analyze overhead costs associated with supporting different types of customers before proceeding with an expansion. The marketing manager knows that the small shops require a lot of attention and is somewhat dubious about the CEO's proposed strategy. The CEO accepts the suggestion and you are brought in as a consultant to prepare the analysis. The table below provides some information that may be pertinent for the analysis.


Customer Support & Distribution Costs

Department Stores

Specialty Shops

Gift Shops

Activity Level

Activity Level

Activity Level

Sales (units)








Contribution margin ratio




No. of customers




Total costs/No. of orders places





Total costs/No. of sales calls





Total costs/No. of shipments





Note that the contribution margin ratio varies due to different quality of towels sold to the stores.


Calculate the customer support and distribution costs associated with the three types of customers.
Use a simple strategy first and allocate the costs based on revenues.
Recalculate the allocations using activity based costing (ABC) based on the information in the table above.
Determine contribution margin less customer support and distribution costs for both approaches above.
Which type of customer should the company support and why? Refer to your analysis in your response.
What are the characteristics of companies that may benefit from an ABC allocation system?
Modular Case Assignment Expectations

It is important to answer the questions as posed. The discussion should be 3 - 5 pages and written in a clear and concise manner. Support your discussion with references in APA format. You are encouraged to use Excel or other compatible spreadsheets when computations are involved.
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