IFRS 9, simplified approach for trade receivables, policy, judgements and estimates and disclosures including credit risk

NEXT plc – Annual report – 26 January 2019

Industry: retail

Customer and Other Receivables
Customer receivables represent outstanding customer balances less an allowance for impairment. Customer receivables are recognised when the Group becomes party to the contract which happens when the goods are despatched. They are derecognised when the rights to receive the cash flows have expired e.g. due to the settlement of the outstanding amount or where the Group has transferred substantially all the risks and rewards associated with that contract. Other trade receivables are stated at invoice value less an allowance for impairment. Customer and other receivables are subsequently measured at amortised cost as the business model is to collect contractual cash flows and the debt meets the Solely Payment of Principal and Interest (SPPI) criterion.

In accordance with the accounting policy for impairment – financial assets, the Group recognises an allowance for Expected Credit Losses (ECLs) for customer and other receivables. IFRS 9 requires an impairment provision to be recognised on origination of a customer advance, based on its ECL.

The directors have taken the simplification available under IFRS 9 5.5.15 which allows the loss amount in relation to a trade receivable to be measured at initial recognition and throughout its life at an amount equal to lifetime ECL. This simplification is permitted where there is either no significant financing component (such as customer receivables where the customer is expected to repay the balance in full prior to interest accruing) or where there is a significant financing component (such as where the customer expects to repay only the minimum amount each month), but the directors make an accounting policy choice to adopt the simplification. Adoption of this approach means that Significant Increase in Credit Risk (SICR) and Date of Initial Recognition (DOIR) concepts are not applicable to the Group’s ECL calculations.

Lifetime ECLs are the ECLs that result from all possible default events over the expected life of a financial instrument.

ECL is the product of the probability of default (PD), exposure at default (EAD) and loss given default (LGD), discounted at the original Effective Interest Rate (EIR). The assessment of credit risk and the estimation of ECL are required to be unbiased, probability-weighted and should incorporate all available information relevant to the assessment, including information about past events, current conditions and reasonable and supportable forecasts of economic conditions at the reporting date. The forward-looking aspect of IFRS 9 requires considerable judgement as to how changes in economic factors affect ECLs.

IFRS 9 “Financial instruments” paragraph 5.5.20 ordinarily requires an entity to not only consider a loan, but also the undrawn commitment and the ECL in respect of the undrawn commitment, where its ability to cancel or demand repayment of the facility does not limit its exposure to the credit risk of the undrawn element. However, the guidance in IFRS 9 on commitments relates only to commitments to provide a loan (that is, a commitment to provide financial assets, such as cash) and excludes from its scope rights and obligations from the delivery of goods as a result of a contract with a customer within the scope of IFRS 15 “Revenue from contracts with customers” (that is, a sales commitment). Thus, the sales commitment (unlike a loan commitment) is not a financial instrument, and therefore the impairment requirements in IFRS 9 do not apply until delivery has occurred and a receivable has been recognised.

Impairment charges in respect of customer receivables are recognised in the Income Statement within cost of sales.

Delinquency is taken as being in arrears and credit impaired is taken as being the loan has defaulted, which is considered to be the point at which the debt is passed to an internal or external Debt Collection Agency (DCA) and a default registered to a Credit Reference Agency (CRA), or any debt 90 days past due. Delinquency and default are relevant for the estimation of ECL, which segments the book by credit score, banded into very low risk, low risk, medium risk and high risk, by arrears stage.

Financial assets are written off when there is no reasonable expectation of recovery, such as a customer failing to engage in a repayment plan with the Group. Where receivables have been written off, if recoveries are subsequently made, they are recognised in profit or loss. The key assumptions in the ECL calculation are:

PD: The “Probability of Default” is an estimate of the likelihood of default over the expected lifetime of the debt. NEXT has assessed the expected lifetime of customer receivables and other trade receivables to be no more than 36 months, based on historical payment practices. The debt is segmented by arrears stage, Experian’s Consumer Indebtedness Index (a measure of consumers’ affordability) and expected time of default.
EAD: The “Exposure at Default” is an estimate of the exposure at that future default date, taking into account expected changes in the exposure after the reporting date, i.e. repayments of principal and interest, whether scheduled by the contract or otherwise and accrued interest from missed payments. This is stratified by arrears stage, Experian’s Consumer Indebtedness Index and expected time of default.
LGD: The “Loss Given Default” is an estimate of the loss arising in the case where a default occurs at a given time. It is based on the difference between the contractual cash flows due and those that NEXT would expect to receive, discounted at the original EIR. It is usually expressed as a percentage of the EAD. NEXT includes all cash collected over five years from the point of default.

The Group uses probability weighted economic scenarios, in order to evaluate a range of possible outcomes as is required by IFRS 9, that are integrated into the model. The inputs and models used for the ECLs may not always capture all characteristics of the market at the Balance Sheet date. To reflect this, qualitative adjustments or overlays are made, based on external data, historical performance and future expected performance.
Major Sources of Estimation Uncertainty and Judgment (extract)
Expected credit losses on Online customer and other receivables
The provision for the allowance for expected credit losses (refer to Note 12) is calculated using a combination of internally and externally sourced information, including future default levels (derived from historical defaults overlaid by macro-economic assumptions), future cash collection levels (derived from past trends), arrears stage and credit rating and other credit data.

Once a customer receivable has defaulted, there is limited sensitivity associated with credit risk. Prior to default, the greatest sensitivity relates to the ability of customers to afford their payments (impacting the Probability of Default (PD) and the Exposure at Default (EAD)) and to the expected level of cash collectable following default (impacting the Loss Given Default (LGD)).

Deterioration in the ability of customers to afford their payments will cause an increase in PD and EAD. Management have sensitised the impact of a change in customer affordability on the PD and EAD by using a 10% deterioration and 10% improvement of Experian’s average Customer Indebtedness Index. This results in a £10m increase and £10m decrease, respectively, in the allowance for Expected Credit Losses (ECL).

A 2% movement upwards (or downwards) in the expected rate of cash collectable following default reduces (or increases) the allowance for ECL by £2m.

In the five weeks following the year end date, £0.2bn of the £1.2bn NEXT customer and other trade receivables has been recovered. Management estimate that a further £0.1bn will be recovered by the date of signing of these financial statements.

12. Customer and Other Receivables
The following table shows the components of net receivables:


No interest is charged on customer receivables if the statement balance is paid in full and to terms; otherwise balances bear interest at a variable annual percentage rate of 23.9% at the year end date (2018: 22.9%), except for £3.1m of next3step balance that bears interest at 29.9% (2018: Not applicable).

The Group applies the simplified approach to providing for expected credit losses prescribed by IFRS 9, which permits the use of the lifetime expected loss provision for all trade receivables. To measure the expected credit losses, trade receivables have been grouped based on a very low credit risk characteristic, representing management’s view of the risk, and the days past due. The expected credit losses incorporate forward looking information.

The fair value of customer receivables and other trade receivables is approximately £1,170m. This has been calculated based on future cash flows discounted at an appropriate rate for the risk of the debt. The fair value is within Level 3 of the fair value hierarchy (refer to the Fair Value Hierarchy table in Note 26).

Expected irrecoverable amounts on balances with indicators of impairment are provided for based on past default experience, adjusted for expected behaviour. Receivables which are impaired, other than by age or default, are separately identified and provided for as necessary.

In the prior year, the impairment of customer receivables and other trade receivables was assessed based on the incurred loss model (IAS 39). Individual receivables which were known to be uncollectable were written off by reducing the carrying amount directly. The other receivables were assessed collectively, to determine whether there was objective evidence that an impairment had been incurred but not yet been identified. For these receivables, the estimated impairment losses were recognised in a separate provision for impairment. The Group considered that there was evidence of impairment if any of the following indicators were present:
• default or delinquency in payments; or
• other indicators of financial difficulties for the debtor.

The allowance provision for impairment calculated under IAS 39 “Financial instruments: Recognition and measurement” and IFRS 9 “Financial instruments” at January 2018 are not materially different. Accordingly, there are no adjustments on transition.
Other debtors and prepayments do not include impaired assets. The maximum exposure to credit risk at the reporting date is the carrying value of each class of asset.

An analysis of changes in the gross carrying amount in relation to customer receivables and other trade receivables is as follows:


An analysis of the changes in the impairment allowance for customer receivables and other trade receivables is as follows:


Impairment losses on customer and other receivables for the 52 weeks to 27 January 2018 includes the release of a £12m provision for potential exposures in relation to customer receivables. This element of provision was re-accrued into other creditors and charged to the Income Statement in administrative expenses, such that there was no overall impact on the profit for the year. The underlying charge for Impairment losses on customer and other receivables for the 52 weeks to 27 January 2018 was therefore £36m.


Information on the Group’s credit risk in relation to customer receivables is provided in Note 27.

27. Financial Instruments:
Financial Risk Management and Hedging Activities (extract)
Credit risk
Credit risk is the risk of financial loss to the Group if a customer or counterparty to a financial instrument fails to meet its contractual obligations, and arises primarily from the Group’s Online customer receivables. The carrying amount of financial assets represents the maximum residual credit exposure, which was £1,230.5m at the reporting date (2018: £1,138.5m)

These are detailed in Note 12.

The Group’s credit risk in relation to customer receivables is influenced mainly by the individual characteristics of each customer. The Board of directors has established a credit policy under which each new credit customer is analysed individually for credit worthiness and subject to credit verification procedures. Receivable balances are monitored on an ongoing basis and provision is made for estimated irrecoverable amounts using forward looking estimates. The concentration of credit risk is limited due to the Online customer base being large and diverse. At January 2019 there were 2.58m active customers (2018: 2.54m) with an average balance of £533 (2018: £493). The Group’s outstanding receivables balances and impairment losses are detailed in Note 12. The performance of our credit risk policies and the risk of the debtor book are monitored weekly by management. Any trends and deviations from expectations are investigated. Senior management review is carried out monthly.

Customer receivables with value £23.5m at January 2019 were on Reduced Payment Indicator (RPI) plans. An allowance for Expected Credit Losses (ECLs) of £17.9m has been made against these balances. Customers are typically on RPI plans for a period of 12 months during which no interest is charged and repayment rates are reduced. On completion of the RPI plan the customer would be treated as higher risk than the arrears stage and credit score would suggest. Any modification gain or loss recognised is immaterial to the financial statements.

The following table contains an analysis of the credit risk exposure to customer receivables, using Experian’s Consumer Indebtedness Index (a measure of customers’ affordability) mapped to NEXT’s internal credit grade.


Analysis of customer receivables and other trade receivables, stratified by credit grade, is as follows:


There is no collateral and therefore all amounts that are past due are impaired.

Investments of cash surpluses and derivative contracts are made through banks and companies which must fulfil credit rating and investment criteria approved by the Board. Risk is further mitigated by diversification and limiting counterparty exposure. The Group does not consider there to be any impairment loss in respect of these balances (2018: £nil). The maximum exposure to credit risk at the reporting date is the carrying value of each class of asset.