Ocado Group plc – Annual report – 1 December 2019
Industry: retail; distribution
Accounting Policies (extracts)
1.4 Significant Accounting Policies and Critical Estimates, Judgements and Assumptions (extract)
The preparation of the Group financial statements requires the use of certain judgements, estimates and assumptions that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, income and expenses. Estimates and judgements are continually evaluated and are based on historical experience and other factors, including expectations of future events that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances.
Key estimation uncertainties are the key assumptions concerning the future, and other key sources of estimation uncertainty at the reporting date that may have a significant risk of causing a material adjustment to the carrying amounts of assets and liabilities within the next financial year. Significant judgements are those that the Group has made in the process of applying the Group’s accounting policies and that have the most significant effect on the amounts recognised in the financial statements.
Changes in accounting estimates may be necessary if there are changes in the circumstances on which the estimate was based or as a result of new information or more experience. Significant accounting policies, key estimation uncertainties, and judgements are provided below:
Other estimates, assumptions and judgements are applied by the Group. These include, but are not limited to, the determination of the rates of depreciation and amortisation of tangible and intangible assets respectively, and of lease terms and provisions. These estimates, assumptions and judgements are also evaluated on a continual basis but are not significant.
Section 2 — Results for the Period (extract)
Accounting Policies (extract)
Revenue represents the transaction prices to which Ocado expects to be entitled in return for delivering goods or services to its customers. The value recognised in any period is based on a judgement of when the customer is able to benefit from the goods or services and an assessment of the progress made towards completely satisfying each obligation. The following provides information about the nature and timing of the satisfaction of performance obligations in our contracts and the related revenue recognition policies, categorised by reportable segments. For information about reportable segments see note 2.2.
Identification of Performance Obligations
In a typical retail contract there is one performance obligation, which is to deliver goods ordered online to the retail customer at the scheduled time and to the agreed address. “Ocado Smart Pass”, the Group’s discounted pre-pay membership scheme, is a separate contract with a customer and has a separate single performance obligation which is to provide delivery services for an agreed period of time. Ocado applies the practical expedient allowed under IFRS 15 to apply the standard requirements to a portfolio of contracts, rather than individual contracts, as it believes the characteristics of each sale are similar and doing so does not materially affect the financial statements.
Determining Transaction Prices
Customers pay in full at the point of sale. The retail transaction price is based on the aggregation of all order values shown net of any material adjustment for expected returns or expected future redemption of marketing vouchers in accordance with guidance on variable consideration in IFRS 15. Standard delivery charges and carrier bag receipts are included in transaction prices. Smart Pass transaction prices are the contracted values of the memberships for the agreed periods of delivery services.
Allocation of Transaction Prices to Performance Obligations
Each contract has a single performance obligation and so the whole transaction price is assigned to that single obligation. At the end of each reporting period management will review and adjust for elements of variable consideration such as expected refunds or expected voucher redemptions. The contingent consideration is estimated at expected value.
Revenue from online grocery orders is recognised at a point in time when the customer obtains control of the goods, which for deliveries performed by Ocado usually occurs when the goods are delivered to and have been accepted at the customer’s home. For goods which are delivered by third party couriers, revenue is recognised when the items have been transferred to the third party for onward delivery to the customer. These are shown net of returns, relevant marketing vouchers/offers and value added taxes. Relevant vouchers/offers include money-off coupons, conditional spend vouchers and offers such as buy three for the price of two. Revenue from Ocado Smart Pass is recognised over the duration of the membership on a time-elapsed, straight-line basis.
UK Solutions and International Solutions Segments
Identification of Performance Obligations
Solutions contracts are allocated to one of the two Solutions segments based on geography. The approach taken to evaluate the accounting treatment of a contract is the same for both segments, with each contract being considered on a case-by-case basis. A typical Ocado Solutions contract has a single performance obligation: “to enable the client to access the OSP end-to-end online grocery platform from the go-live date, with an agreed physical capacity, from a CFC for example, for the use of its retail brands”. The ability to derive independent benefit is a key determinant. For example, there are several critical contractual milestones which occur before the service is operational, such as the design of the CFC for the client or preparation of the OSP. However, management has concluded that the customer is not able to derive any benefit from these individual elements until the service is operational and they are able to fulfil an order. Depending on the individual customer, fulfilment of an order may include the delivery of goods to the final consumer, and this would make up part of the obligation.
Consequently, designing the CFC or building the customer OSP is not a separate performance obligation and no revenue can be assigned to satisfying these aspects of the contract. Some contracts, however, will have multiple components, for example, the addition of Store Pick services or additional CFCs, which could lead to additional distinct performance obligations. In these situations, management will use its judgement to determine whether there are separable performance obligations from which the customer is able to benefit independently.
Determining Transaction Prices
At the inception of a contract, the total transaction price is estimated, being the amount to which the Group expects to be entitled over the expected duration of the contract, based on the rights it has under the present contract. Such expected amounts are only included to the extent that it is highly probable that no revenue reversal will occur.
In order to arrive at the transaction price, management is initially required to make a judgement about the duration of the contract. The majority of our Solutions contracts do not have a fixed term, but run for an indefinite period until cancelled. For the purposes of applying IFRS 15, and in particular making the disclosures in respect of unsatisfied performance obligations, management determines the duration of a contract having considered the type of contract, performance against contractual service-level agreements (“SLAs”) and termination provisions. The point at which any termination penalties payable by the customer would no longer be considered “substantive” is particularly relevant. This key judgement on contract duration defines the period for which unsatisfied and partially unsatisfied performance obligations are measured and disclosed when calculating the transaction price.
Typically, our Solutions contracts include both upfront fees, paid by the customer in the period prior to the solution going live, and subsequent annual amounts that are either recurring or variable. The upfront fees are one-off payments and are included in the transaction price and recognised over the expected customer life. Expected customer life is a key judgement as it affects the amount of deferred upfront fees that are released as revenue each period and the factors considered in reaching the judgement on expected customer life include the nature of the performance obligation, the scale of current and future planned investment, performance against contractual SLAs, the evolving technology and competitive landscape. The judgements made for contract duration may be different to those judgements for expected customer life.
A Solutions contract often includes recurring fees which are due on an annual basis throughout the contract, and are recognised over the duration of the contract and are included in the estimate of the total transaction price.
Variable amounts are annual fees whereby typically the variability relates to the volume of sales transactions processed or variable costs associated with providing the service to the customer. We determine that these variable amounts should be recognised in the period in which they arise, because they relate to the services provided in that period. In determining the total transaction price for disclosure we have estimated the amount of future variable consideration for the contract duration described above.
IFRS 15 requires estimates of future variable consideration to adopt a conservative amount that is “highly probable” to become due. In respect of agreements that are already operating, we have reached our constrained estimate by assuming 90.0% of FY18 performance. This estimate excludes potential benefits from both indexation and future revenue growth from capacity improvements and the continued channel shift to online in the industry. It also considers potential risks from new entrants to the online fulfilment market as it continues to grow and the competitive nature of the grocery market itself which could have an adverse effect on volumes.
Although for most Solutions contracts there is the possibility that the customer will add capacity in the form of additional modules in existing CFCs or additional CFCs in new locations, which would lead to increased revenue, this has been excluded from the calculation of the estimated transaction price.
Taken together we therefore consider that this approach represents a suitably conservative view of future estimated revenue in the disclosures of unsatisfied obligations as required by IFRS 15.
For each Solutions contract an assessment has been made by the Group as to whether there is a significant finance benefit arising from the timing of payments required from the customer. Judgement is required to choose an appropriate interest rate used in the assessment and to set a reasonable threshold for determining whether any finance benefit is significant.
Allocation of Transaction Prices to Performance Obligations
Single component contracts have a single performance obligation and the whole transaction price is assigned to that single deliverable. Multiple component contracts will have more than one obligation, each with its own contract duration as judged by management. Each contract clearly states the fees relating to each component. This provides management with a basis for allocation of the calculated transaction price to the performance obligations as required by the standard in proportion to their relative revenue value in the contract.
For each performance obligation and its allocated transaction price, recognition of the revenue is made from the point at which the customer starts to benefit from the services and over the period the services are provided. The nature of the services provided, that is the ability to fulfil online grocery orders, represents equal value to the customer every day that the service is provided. This uniformity of value to the customer over time has led the Group to the decision that the most appropriate way of measuring the satisfaction of obligations is to use a straight-line time-elapsed basis. IFRS 15 defines this as an “output method” which recognises revenue by reference to the value to the customer.
Judgement is applied in relation to contract and customer lives as typically contracts have no end date. Depending on the expected contract life, the amount and timing of revenue recognised may be different in the relevant accounting periods. As the Group has not yet launched a CFC internationally, the Directors have limited relevant historical information on which to base their assumptions. Therefore, in making their judgements, the Directors have considered qualitative and quantitative reasonable and supportable information such as market evidence and certain clauses contained within Solutions contracts.
The Group’s contracts may be amended for changes to specifications and requirements. Contract modifications exist when the amendment either creates new or changes the existing enforceable rights and obligations. The effect of a contract modification on the transaction price and the Group’s measure of progress for the performance obligation to which it relates, is recognised as an adjustment to revenue in one of the following ways:
a. prospectively as an additional separate contract;
b. prospectively as a termination of the existing contract and creation of a new contract;
c. as part of the original contract using a cumulative catch-up; or
d. as a combination of b. and c.
For contracts for which the Group has decided there is a series of distinct goods and services that are substantially the same and have the same pattern of transfer where revenue is recognised over time, the modification will always be treated under a. or b.
The facts and circumstances of any contract modification are considered individually as the types of modifications will vary contract by contract and may result in different accounting outcomes.
Judgement is applied in relation to the accounting for such modifications where the final terms or legal contracts have not been agreed prior to the period end as management needs to determine if a modification has been approved and if it either creates new or changes existing enforceable rights and obligations of the parties. Depending upon the outcome of such negotiations, the timing and amount of revenue recognised may be different in the relevant accounting periods. Modification and amendments to contracts are undertaken via an agreed formal process. For example, if a change in scope has been approved but the corresponding change in price is still being negotiated, management uses its judgement to estimate the change to the total transaction price. Importantly, any variable consideration is only recognised to the extent that it is highly probable that no revenue reversal will occur.
Contract Costs and Liabilities
As a result of the contracts into which the Group enters with its clients, a number of different assets and liabilities are recognised on the Group’s Balance Sheet. These include but are not limited to:
– property, plant and equipment;
– intangible assets;
– costs to obtain contracts;
– contract liabilities.
Incremental Costs of Obtaining a Contract
These are costs that are incurred to obtain a contract with a customer that would not have been incurred if the contract had not been obtained. Costs to obtain a contract that would have been incurred regardless of whether the contract was obtained or not shall be recognised as an expense when incurred, unless those costs are explicitly chargeable to the customer regardless of whether the contract is obtained.
The incremental costs of obtaining a contract with a customer are recognised as an asset if they are expected to be recoverable.
Utilisation, Derecognition and Impairment of Costs to Obtain a Contract
Incremental costs to obtain a contract are amortised on a basis that is consistent with the transfer to the customer of the goods or services to which the asset relates.
Incremental costs to obtain a contract are derecognised either when they are disposed of or when no further economic benefits are expected to flow from their use or disposal.
Management is required to determine the recoverability of contract-related assets within property, plant and equipment, intangible assets, capitalised costs to obtain a contract, accrued income and trade receivables. At each reporting date, the Group determines whether or not the capitalised costs to obtain a contract are impaired by comparing the carrying amount of the asset to the remaining amount of consideration that the Group expects to receive less the costs that relate to providing services under the relevant contract. In determining the estimated amount of consideration, the Group uses the same principles as it does to determine the contract transaction price, except that any constraints used to reduce the transaction price will be removed for the impairment test.
The Group’s customer contracts include a diverse range of payment schedules dependent upon the nature and type of goods and services being provided. The Group often agrees payment schedules at the inception of long-term contracts under which it receives payments throughout the term of the contracts. These payment schedules may include performance-based payments or progress payments as well as regular monthly or quarterly payments for ongoing service delivery. Payments for transactional goods and services may be at delivery date, in arrears or part payment in advance. Where payments made (or when the Group has an unconditional right to payment) are greater than the revenue recognised at the period end date, the Group recognises a contract liability. Where payments made are less than the revenue recognised at the period end date, and the Group has an unconditional right to payment, the Group recognises accrued income for this difference.
Cost of Sales
Cost of sales represents the cost of groceries and other products the Group sells, any associated licence fees which are driven by the volume of sales of specific products or product groups, including the branding and sourcing fees payable to Waitrose, adjustments to inventory and charges for transportation of goods from a supplier to a CFC.
The Group continues to have agreements with suppliers whereby promotional allowances and volume-related rebates are received in connection with the promotion or purchase of goods for resale from those suppliers. The allowances and rebates are included in cost of sales. For the 52 weeks ended 1 December 2019, promotional allowances represent 84% (2018: 80%) of commercial income, with volume-related rebates representing 16% (2018: 20%).
Cost of sales includes monies received from suppliers in relation to the agreed funding of selected items that are sold by the Group on promotion, and these are recognised once the promotional activity has taken place in the period to which it relates on an accruals basis. The estimates required for this source of income are limited because the time periods of promotional activity, in most cases, are less than one month and the invoicing for the activity occurs on a regular basis shortly after the promotions have ended.
At the period end the Group is required to estimate supplier income due from annual agreements for volume rebates, which span the period end date. Estimates are required due to the fact that confirmation of some amounts due is often only received three to six months after the period end. Where estimates are required, these are based on current performance, historical data for prior periods and a review of significant supplier contracts. A material amount of this income is received from third parties via the Group’s supply agreement with Waitrose. The estimates for this income are prepared
following discussions with Waitrose throughout the period and are reviewed regularly by senior management.
Uncollected Commercial Income
Uncollected commercial income at the Balance Sheet date is classified within trade and other receivables. Where commercial income has been earned, but not invoiced at the Balance Sheet date, the amount is recorded in accrued income.
Other income comprises the fair value of consideration received or receivable for advertising services provided by Ocado to suppliers and other third parties on the Webshop, commission income, rental income, sublease payments receivable and amounts receivable not in the ordinary course of business. Income for advertising services is recognised over the particular time period for which the service is provided on an accruals basis. An adjustment is made at the period end to accrue for the amount of income in relation to campaigns that may span the period end; however, such adjustments are not typically material.
2.3 Revenue from Contracts with Customers
Disaggregation of Revenue from Contracts with Customers
Set out below is the disaggregation of the Group’s revenue from contracts with customers:
The contract assets represent Solutions revenue recognised in the Consolidated Income Statement, but net yet invoiced.
Significant changes in the contract assets balance during the period are as follows:
Analysis of total contract liabilities:
The contract liabilities primarily relate to the advance consideration received from customers for Solutions contracts, for which revenue is recognised as the performance obligation is satisfied.
Significant changes in the contract liabilities balance during the period are as follows:
Set out below is the amount of revenue recognised from:
The transaction price allocated to the remaining performance obligations (unsatisfied or partially unsatisfied) is as follows:
Total transaction price includes £1,824.0 million (2018: £1,736.3 million) in respect of potential revenues in relation to the recovery of costs that are expected to be incurred in existing Solutions contracts.
The amounts disclosed above in respect of unsatisfied and partially unsatisfied performance obligations do not include estimates of any amounts that will arise if the customer continues to receive services beyond our estimate of the contract term. In addition, they are reduced, during the contract term, so as to limit our estimate of future variable amounts to a conservative amount that is “highly probable”. For additional information in respect of key judgements, please refer to note 2.1. The figures disclosed do not include any incremental amounts in relation to CFCs and other solutions to which a customer is not yet committed. However, they do include any amounts that are payable by the customer irrespective of whether an option for future CFCs and other solutions is exercised (e.g. amounts that are equivalent to a non-refundable deposit).
Costs to Obtain Contracts
Management expects that the incremental costs of obtaining contracts (i.e. sales bonuses) are recoverable. The Group therefore capitalises them as costs to obtain contracts.
These capitalised costs will be amortised over the period of transferring goods or services to the customer.