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I would stick with using year over year figures and would never compare successive quarters because it's like comparing apples and oranges. Seasonal differences can come into effect. For example, if you're doing a ranking for a retailer like Gap or Amazon, you wouldn't want to compare its super-busy Christmas quarter (ending Dec 31) with the mediocre quarter immediately prior (Sept 30), would you? Of course not. On the other hand, you might want to compare the Christmas quarter from this year with the Christmas quarter from last year to see if the company has shown improvement.

Year over year is the only comparison that makes any sense to me.

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