LPs may be struggling, but for REC retailers the year ahead could be a lucrative one. Fire & Flower aims to nearly triple its 2019 sales in 2020 (from $58M to $160M) and expand its 46 stores to 135 in 2021. Meta Growth aims to open its 90th Canadian store (up from 34 at present) by the end of the year.
- Yet Cannalyst Andrew “MollyTime” Udell stressed few REC retailers have the cash on hand to open more than a few stores at a time. Though with 50.1% ownership by convenience store giant Couche Tard, Fire & Flower is the best prepared to open more stores.
- To that end, Meta announced an agreement with Echelon Wealth Partners to sell that company $10M worth of stock. Proceeds will be used to expand the company’s Ontario retail offerings.
- Meta also announced it would no longer sell its MED clinics to Evergreen Pacific Insurance Corporation, as originally planned.
- In New Brunswick, MED advocates are circulating a petition calling on the government to “save medical dispensaries” by licensing stores in a free-market system, rather than selling crown REC retail monopoly Cannabis NB to a single private operator.
The next front for REC retail is delivery, particularly with food-delivery services booming. But that expansion is hampered by limitations on third-party REC delivery services—only Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba even allow it.
- Ontario continued expanding its OCS delivery service, and Pineapple Express general manager Sarah Seale called for driver applications in the GTA.
- The Super Anytime REC e-commerce platform launched in Manitoba, offering consumers the option to select products from a variety of different REC stores, and have those products delivered by a third party.
NewsWire, Winnipeg Free Press