Commodity Turnover

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Commodity Turnover


the circulation of commodities; that stage in the reproduction process encompassing the movement of goods from the production sphere to the consumption sphere. Commodity turnover represents the gross sales of the means of production and articles of consumption; it characterizes the qualitative and quantitative aspects of economic activity within the sphere of commodity circulation.

Commodity turnover is divided into wholesale (turnover of wholesale trade) and retail (turnover of retail trade) branches. Wholesale commodity turnover represents a form of commodity link between enterprises; its basic function is to supply the retail trade network with commodities with the lowest possible outlays of labor and capital. In the USSR, wholesale commodity turnover encompasses the sale of commodities by production and marketing associations (enterprises) to trade organizations for subsequent sale to the population, as well as for industrial processing.

The three types of wholesale commodity turnover are turnover of the means of production mainly according to the plans governing material and technical supply, turnover of agricultural goods (purchases and sales of farm products and raw materials), and turnover of both centrally allocated consumer goods and consumer goods intended for the market. Wholesale turnover of consumer goods is carried out by specialized wholesale centers of the republic ministries of trade, by wholesale centers of consumers’ cooperatives, and by the supply and marketing machinery of ministries and departments of industry. As of the mid-1970’s, the system operated by republic ministries of trade accounted for approximately 60 percent of the wholesale turnover of the principal consumer goods. The volume of wholesale commodity turnover is determined by the plans for retail turnover, as well as by the production programs of industry and agriculture.

Retail commodity turnover expresses the total volume of retail sales of goods and services. This type of turnover occasions a change in the form of value; both value and use value receive social recognition. Retail commodity turnover is one of the principal indicators used in evaluating the standard of living; it characterizes the extent to which the effective monetary demand of the population has been met. The physical basis of the turnover is provided by commodity inventories.

In the USSR, retail commodity turnover in state and cooperative trade includes the volume of sales of commodities to the population through the retail trade network and the retail outlets of the food service industry, as well as the sales volume of workshops and repair shops. It also includes the volume of sales made to organizations, institutions, and enterprises (sanatoriums, hospitals) of food items for staff members and employees and of nonfood items necessary for normal maintenance and operation. Here, the sales of nonfood items are regarded as small-scale wholesale operations; the volume of sales in this category constituted approximately 5 percent of total commodity turnover in 1973. Retail commodity turnover also includes sales by consumers’ cooperatives of agricultural goods purchased from kolkhoz members and kolkhozes at contracted prices.

During the period 1940–74, the total volume of retail commodity turnover in state and cooperative trade increased by a factor of 8.2 (using comparable prices). When calculated on a per capita basis, turnover, in 1974 prices, was 774 rubles. The structure of retail commodity turnover—turnover of the principal commodity groups relative to total turnover—is constantly improving, reflecting improvements in the structure of the production and consumption of goods and services. There has been an increase in the proportion of nonfood commodities and, within this group, of durable goods, such as electrical appliances, radios, furniture, and automobiles. Among food products, an increase has been seen in the proportion of high-quality products (meat, sausage, milk, dairy products); at the same time, the proportion of sales of grain products (bread, flour, groats, macaroni products) and potatoes has decreased. In the mid-1970’s, the share of state trade in total retail commodity turnover was approximately 70 percent, and that of cooperative trade, approximately 29 percent. From 1940 to 1975, the proportion of turnover from state and cooperative trade in total commodity turnover increased from 91.3 percent to 98.6 percent. The share of total turnover contributed by products from the household plots of kolkhoz members has gradually decreased, amounting to slightly more than 1 percent in 1975. The share from sales in the food service industry in the total retail commodity turnover of the country is approximately 10 percent.

The accounting, analysis, planning, and forecasting of the volume and structure of retail commodity turnover are constantly being improved with the aid of econometric methods, computers, and automated systems of plan calculations and management.


Gogol’, B.I. Ekonomika sovetskoi torgovli, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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