Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) Announces Fourth Quarter (Q4) Performance

    03 June 2024

NLC today released its financial and operational results for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2024 ended April 6, 2024. Due to 2024 being a leap year, fiscal year 2024 includes an additional week (53 vs. 52 weeks). All information is unaudited.

NLC reported net earnings for the quarter of $43.6 million, an increase of $3.7 million, or 9.2%, compared with Q4 of fiscal year 2023. Net earnings for fiscal year 2024 total $207.6 million, an increase of $6.4 million or 3.2% from the prior year. The dividend paid by NLC to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador totalled $47.0 million for the quarter, $7.0 million higher than Q4 of the prior year. This brings the dividend remitted for the fiscal year to $207.5 million, $0.5 million lower than the same period one year ago.

The end of the 2023-24 fiscal year also marks the first year of the three-year planning period for the 2023-2026 Business Plan. Again this year, NLC recorded record sales and earnings. For fiscal year 2024 alcohol and cannabis sales totalled $364.0 million compared to $349.3 million for the prior year, with cannabis sales seeing the largest increase over the prior year.

“The entire NLC team is proud of the impact we are having in the province,” said Bruce Keating, NLC President and CEO. “We are an example to other provinces in developing a legal cannabis industry. Our corporate social responsibility programs are ramping up and having real, meaningful impact. We are supporting local businesses across the province in a wide range of ways. We are getting better and better at providing a compelling work experience for our 650 employees. And we are proud to have contributed more than $200 million for the third consecutive year to fund valuable programs and services in Newfoundland and Labrador. Our overriding focus is earning trust in everything we do, and that will continue to be our focus.”

Beverage Alcohol

Beverage Alcohol sales for Q4 were $62.2 million, up 12.1% over the prior year, with growth in all product categories. Compared with Q4 of 2023, spirits sales were up 11.3%, wine sales were up 17.4%, RTD sales increased 10.3%, and beer sold through NLC corporate Liquor Stores increased 16.0%.

Beverage alcohol sales overall were up 1.9% in fiscal year 2024 over fiscal year 2023, to $304.8 million, with an increase in all product categories. Spirits sales were up 1.9%, wine sales increased 2.0%, RTD sales were up 2.8%, and beer sales increased by 4.0% compared with the prior year.

Sales through NLC’s corporate stores were up 13.9%, and Liquor Express outlets across the province experienced an increase of 12.7% over Q4 of the prior year. Sales through NLC’s corporate Liquor Stores were up 2.5% for fiscal year 2024 vs. 2023, while Liquor Express outlets across the province were up 1.9% from the prior year.

NLC also earns commissions on the sale of beer through Brewers’ Agents. These commissions for the quarter totalled $17.3 million, up 5.3% over Q4 of fiscal year 2023, mainly due to timing of beer shipments. For fiscal year 2024, commissions were up 4.4% for the year, for a total of $71.0 million.

During the quarter, NLC continued to improve and invest in the customer experience, completing the renovation of two Liquor Store locations in Carbonear and Clarenville. In the past three years, NLC has renovated 18 Liquor stores with various upgrades including new flooring, energy efficient lighting, digital monitors, expanded cooler space, and enhanced store layout and design. NLC’s investment towards an enhanced customer experience during fiscal 2024 also included the rollout to all NLC retail team members of the Graff Retail sales training program, Ready to Serve, designed specifically for the beverage alcohol industry.

NLC continued to highlight and support local business throughout Q4 by listing 51 beverage alcohol products from local producers. Throughout fiscal year 2024, NLC featured local businesses and products in its Enjoy magazine. NLC also provided financial support to local businesses with the implementation of new pricing for local alcohol producers and through licensee wholesale pricing. The total support provided to local alcohol producers and licensees was $5.1 million.

Cannabis NL

Cannabis sales through Licensed Cannabis Retailers (LCRs) totalled $22.7 million in Q4, an increase of 22.2% over Q4 of the prior year. Total retail cannabis sales in Q4, including online sales, were $22.9 million.

Total retail cannabis sales for fiscal year 2024 increased by 23.9% over the prior year to $87.6 million. NLC also incurred an increase of 36.6% in cannabis commissions and premiums expenses payable to licensed cannabis retailers and local cannabis processors/producers through the fiscal year. This is primarily due to the increased sales volume.

Cannabis NL was pleased to welcome three new LCRs in Q4, those being in the towns of Heatherton, Plum Point and St. Mary’s. As of the end of fiscal 2024 there were 55 LCRs in Newfoundland and Labrador.

NLC continues to support local cannabis producers in the province through its product listing process and continues to work with local producers to grow the industry. NLC also supports local cannabis producers with premiums for product sold in the province. The total support provided to local cannabis producers was $2.1 million. Representatives from NLC also had the opportunity in Q4 to visit Oceanic ReLeaf’s production facility in Burin, NL to learn more about the positive impact they’re making on the local community and cannabis industry.

Rock Spirits

Rock Spirits produced 63,000 cases of spirits and 1,000 cases of RTDs and beer during Q4, a decrease of 32% in spirits and 67% in RTDs and beer over the same period the previous year. During the 2024 fiscal year, Rock Spirits produced a total of 308,000 cases of spirits and 14,000 cases of RTDs and beer, a decrease of 11% and 58% respectively over fiscal year 2023. The decreases were driven primarily by a reduction in demand for the product of some of our co-packing partners, as well as by the timing of production.

Rock Spirits launched a new recipe for Screech Rum during the fiscal year. It also added a spirit and RTD to its own portfolio, with the introduction of Screech Snowball and Screech Pina Colada. Rock Spirits continued to collaborate with partners during the fiscal year, working with Fog Distillery Co. and Marlin Spike. Rock Spirits will continue to seek out local and international partnership opportunities moving forward.

Regulatory Compliance and Enforcement

NLC continued to work with partners in law enforcement during fiscal year 2024 to monitor suspicious activity related to illegal cannabis. Unlike previous years, there were no seizures during fiscal 2024, which is a strong indicator that customers are taking advantage of the expanding licensed retail network in Newfoundland and Labrador. The cannabis industry in the province is now estimated to be 84% legal. NLC will continue to focus its efforts on shrinking the illicit market and building a legal cannabis industry that will serve the people of Newfoundland and Labrador.

NLC conducted 1,142 inspections on liquor establishments and cannabis retailers in Q4, as it continues to work closely with the licensee community. This represents a 23% decrease over the number of inspections conducted during the same period in fiscal year 2023.

During the 2024 fiscal year, NLC conducted 3,733 inspections on liquor establishments and cannabis retailers, down 16% from the prior year due to a change in availability of human resources in the department. While there was a decrease in the overall number of inspections, NLC’s Regulatory Services division maintained its commitment to licensees and its legislative mandate by reaching over 95% of all locations at least once during the fiscal year.

Corporate Responsibility

NLC continues to place Corporate Social Responsibility at the forefront of its operations. During Q4 of fiscal 2024, NLC launched its new Corporate Social Responsibility platform, Together with Purpose. Through this platform, NLC is committed to working collaboratively as an organization and with external stakeholders to give back in ways that are more meaningful - to support local communities, minimize its environmental impact, and lead positive change in the beverage alcohol and cannabis industries.

To further its commitment to the health and well-being of its employees, as well as its efforts in Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, NLC completed the following initiatives in Q4 in addition to numerous diversity-related activities throughout the fiscal year:

  • Participation in Bell Let's Talk Day, Pink Shirt Day, and Black History Month through internal and social media campaigns.
  • Recognition of International Women's Day in March, highlighting prominent women in the industry via social media.
  • International Transgender Day of Visibility – Implementation of mandatory staff training on Inclusivity.

NLC has continued to use its expansive corporate retail footprint to make a positive impact in the community. In March, NLC hosted a Breakfast Blitz Campaign in its corporate Liquor Stores across the province. The campaign, which was in support of Kids Eat Smart Foundation NL, raised over $64,000 due to the combined efforts and generosity of NLC customers, staff, supplier partners and a NLC corporate donation match of $15,000. This was the second corporate fundraising campaign of its kind that NLC has held in-store during fiscal year 2024. In December 2023, over $77,900 was raised in support of the Community Food Sharing Association for NLC’s 12 Days of Giving Campaign. In addition, NLC distributed and additional $5,000 to local food banks throughout the province. To date, NLC’s corporate fundraising campaigns have resulted in nearly $150,000 in support towards food security in the province.

Newfoundland and Labrador Liquor Corporation (NLC) Quarterly and Year-to-Date Results

*Note – Total Retail Cannabis Sales includes all sales of cannabis in Newfoundland and Labrador.

About NLC

NLC is a Crown Corporation of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador with responsibility through the Liquor Corporation Act, the Liquor Control Act, and the Cannabis Control Act for the importation, sale, distribution and management of beverage alcohol and cannabis, and for the delivery of programs that promote safe, responsible consumption of alcohol and cannabis.

NLC is one of the largest retailers in the province. Through 28 corporate retail locations, over 140 agency stores, more than 600 Brewer’s Agent outlets, and over 1,400 restaurants, lounges, and other licensees, along with private order services, NLC offers over 4,000 products per year to consumers and its retail partners from more than 20 countries. It also regulates and distributes to 55 licensed cannabis retailers across the province, and offers customers a secure, legal online environment for cannabis purchases via NLC operates a 77,000 square foot distribution centre, as well as a manufacturing operation, Rock Spirits. The facility, which runs world-class blending, bottling and canning operations, ships to more than 30 countries around the world and has been in operation for over 65 years.

NLC operates with the expectation that it will generate revenue for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, with 100% of its profits reinvested in the province to fund key public services. NLC aspires to build trust in everything it does - with customers, employees, retailers, commercial partners, and communities, along with Government, to ensure a stronger Newfoundland and Labrador.

Media contacts:
Tara Haley
Corporate Responsibility and Communications Manager
Newfoundland Labrador Liquor Corporation
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