Accounting Policies


The Group follows the principles of IAS 18 "Revenue", in determining appropriate revenue recognition policies.

Revenue comprises the fair value of consideration received or receivable for the sale of goods and services. 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. Delivery and carrier bag receipts are included in revenue.

Revenue from the sale of goods is always recognised when the significant risks and rewards of ownership of the goods have been transferred. For deliveries performed by Ocado recognition of revenue is upon delivery of the goods to 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. Income from "Ocado Smart Pass", the Group's discounted pre-pay membership scheme, is recognised in the period to which it relates, on an accruals basis.

Revenue from the rendering of services is recognised over the period in which services are rendered. Initial licence contract revenues are recognised over a term which is specific to individual customer contracts. For services, the term is the period over which services are rendered. For the licence of technology assets, the revenue is recognised over a period consistent with the expected life of the related technology assets. Annual licence contract revenues, including associated service and operational fees, are recognised as income in the relevant period.

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.

Commercial Income

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. In FY15 promotional allowances represent 85% of commercial income, with volume-related rebates representing 15%.

Promotional Allowances

Cost of sales also includes monies received from suppliers in relation to the agreed funding of selected items that are sold by the Group on promotion and is 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.

Volume-Related Rebates

At the period end the Group is required to estimate supplier income due from annual agreements for volume rebates, which span across the year-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 years 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 year and regularly reviewed by senior management.

Uncollected Commercial Income

Uncollected commercial income as at balance sheet date is classified within trade and other receivables. Where commercial income has been earned, but not yet invoiced at the balance sheet date, the amount is recorded in accrued income.

Other 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 the amount of income in relation to campaigns that may span the period end, however such adjustments are not typically material.

Employee Benefits

The Group contributes to the personal pension plans of its staff through two pension plans: a defined contribution Group personal pension administered by Standard Life, and a defined contribution Money Purchase Scheme administered by People's Pensions. Employer contributions to the schemes are calculated as a percentage of salary based on length of scheme membership. Contributions are charged to the income statement in the period to which they relate.

Distribution Costs

Distribution costs consist of all the costs incurred, excluding product costs, to the point of sale. In most cases, this is the customer's home. This includes the payroll-related expenses for the picking, dispatch and delivery of products sold to the point of sale, the cost of making those deliveries, including fuel, tolls, maintenance of vehicles, the operating costs of the properties required for the picking, dispatch and onward delivery operations and all associated depreciation, amortisation and impairment charges, call centre costs and payment processing charges. This includes costs incurred on behalf of Morrisons which are subsequently recharged.

Administrative Expenses

Administrative expenses consist of all IT costs, advertising and marketing expenditure (excluding vouchers), share-based payments costs, employment costs of all central functions, which include board, legal, finance, human resources, marketing and procurement, rent and other property-related costs for the head office, all fees for professional services and the depreciation, amortisation and impairment associated with IT equipment, software, fixtures and fittings. Additionally, this includes costs incurred on behalf of Morrisons which are subsequently recharged.

Exceptional Items

The Group has adopted an income statement format which seeks to highlight significant items within the Group results for the year. The Group believes this format is useful as it highlights one-off items, such as material set-up costs for new fulfilment warehouses, reorganisation and restructuring costs, profit or loss on disposal of operations, and impairment of assets. Exceptional items, as disclosed on the face of the income statement, are items that due to their material and/or non-recurring nature, as determined by management, have been classified separately in order to draw them to the attention of the reader of the financial statements and to avoid distortion of underlying performance. This facilitates comparison with prior periods to assess trends in financial performance more readily. It is determined by management that each of these items relates to events or circumstances that are non-recurring in nature.

The Group applies judgement in identifying the significant non-recurring items of income and expense that are recognised as exceptional to help provide an indication of the Group's underlying business performance. Examples of items that the Group considers as exceptional include, but are not limited to, material costs relating to the opening of a new warehouse, corporate reorganisations and any material costs, outside of the normal course of business as determined by management.