From time to time, management or the company may publicly disclose certain "non-GAAP financial measures" in our earnings releases, financial presentations, earnings conference calls or otherwise. These non-GAAP measures may include contribution, contribution margin and free cash flow. The company provides reconciliation to the nearest GAAP measure for these and other non-GAAP measures on a quarterly basis in the respective quarterly earnings press release found in the press release section of this website.
These non-GAAP measures are not in accordance with, or a substitute for, measures prepared in accordance with GAAP, and may be different from non-GAAP measures used by other companies. In addition, these non-GAAP measures are not based on any comprehensive set of accounting rules or principles. Non-GAAP measures have limitations in that they do not reflect all of the amounts associated with Overstock's results of operations that would be reflected in measures determined in accordance with GAAP. These measures should only be used to evaluate Overstock's results of operations in conjunction with corresponding GAAP measures.
These non-GAAP measures are provided to enhance investors' overall understanding of the company's current financial performance. In addition, because Overstock has reported certain non-GAAP results to investors in the past, the company believes the inclusion of non-GAAP measures provides consistency in the company's financial reporting.
Contribution (a non-GAAP financial measure which we reconcile below to "Gross Profit," the nearest GAAP financial measure appearing in our consolidated statement of operations) consists of gross profit less sales and marketing expense plus Club O Rewards and gift card breakage and reflects an additional way of viewing our results. Contribution margin is contribution as a percentage of total net revenue. We believe contribution and contribution margin provide management and users of the financial statements information about our ability to cover our operating costs, such as technology and general and administrative expenses, while reflecting the selling costs we incurred to generate our revenues. Including these amounts in our contribution improves this measure by adding back the reductions in revenue that we recognized for Club O Rewards that have subsequently expired and for gift cards whose redemption is remote. Contribution and contribution margin are used in addition to and in conjunction with results presented in accordance with GAAP and should not be relied upon to the exclusion of GAAP financial measures. The material limitation associated with the use of contribution is that it is an incomplete measure of profitability as it does not include all operating expenses or all non-operating income and expenses. Management compensates for these limitations when using this measure by looking at other GAAP measures, such as operating income and net income. You should review our financial statements and publicly-filed reports in their entirety and not rely on any single financial measure.
Free cash flow reflects an additional way of viewing our cash flows and liquidity that, when viewed with our GAAP results, provides a more complete understanding of factors and trends affecting our cash flows and liquidity. Free cash flow, which we reconcile to “net cash provided by operating activities,” is cash flow from operations, reduced by “expenditures for fixed assets, including internal-use software and website development.” We believe that cash flows from operating activities is an important measure since it includes both the cash impact of the continuing operations of the business and changes in the balance sheet that impact cash. Also, we believe free cash flow is a useful measure to evaluate our business since purchases of fixed assets are a necessary component of ongoing operations and free cash flow measures the amount of cash we have available for mandatory debt service and financing obligations, changes in our capital structure, and future investments, after we have paid our operating expenses. Therefore, we believe it is important to view free cash flow as a complement to our entire consolidated statements of cash flows.