Nova Scotia

COVID-19 fuels another 'unprecedented' quarter for NSLC

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation reported a 5.3 per cent increase in alcohol and cannabis sales for the first fiscal quarter of 2020. It said the closure of bars, pubs and restaurants due to COVID-19 played a major role.

NSLC attributes COVID-19 closures of pubs, bars and restaurants to rise in sales

Despite fewer transactions this past quarter, NSLC customers were spending more per transaction, an increase of 46.4 per cent. (CBC)

The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation reported an "unprecedented" quarter on Tuesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and reported a 5.3 per cent increase in alcohol and cannabis sales.

"This growth was driven by customers purchasing from NSLC and agency stores and staying home due to the closure of bars, pubs and restaurants during the COVID-19 pandemic," it stated in a news release.

Sales from April 1 to June 28, 2020, were more than $184 million, with $166.8 million in alcohol sales and $17.3 million in cannabis sales, the NSLC reported.

Nova Scotia Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Houston said the extra profits should be reinvested back into the province's hospitality industry.

"This money came out of the pockets of bars and restaurants and the Liberals should send that money back," Houston said in a statement.

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According to the NSLC, Nova Scotia ready-to-drink products, primarily vodka coolers, led the growth of local product categories with sales increasing by 115.7 per cent to $7.2 million.

Nova Scotia craft beer sales grew by 0.1 per cent to $4.8 million, while spirit sales grew by 15.4 per cent to $2.3 million, compared to the same quarter for the previous fiscal year.

Nova Scotia wine sales dipped by 7.6 per cent to $2.6 million, while Nova Scotia cannabis sales declined 12.7 per cent to $2.6 million, accounting for 15.1 per cent of all cannabis sales this quarter.

The corporation also noted there were fewer transactions this past quarter, but customers were spending more per transaction.

"The average dollar value of each transaction increased 46.4 per cent as customers purchased larger package sizes in order to make fewer trips to NSLC stores," the news release stated.

In addition to the increase in sales, quarterly earnings reached $64.1 million, an increase of 6.8 per cent compared to the same period in the previous fiscal year.

Back in June, the NSLC also had "unprecedented" year-end financial results for April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2020, where they reported total sales of $726 million, up 9.7 per cent from the year before.

Like this time around, the NSLC said the pandemic played a big role.

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