High Tide (HITI) Maintains Ambitious Retail Expansion Drive

Alberta-based retailer High Tide Inc. grew its estate to 30 stores when it opened a Smoker’s Corner outlet in the Royal Chapelle Area of Edmonton today.

It now has 14 Smoker’s Corner stores spread across Alberta, British Columbia, and Nova Scotia – six corporately owned and eight franchises – plus 16 Canna Cabana stores located in Alberta, Ontario, and Saskatchewan. It has plans to increase its estate to 56 stores in the near future as projects are underway at 26 locations in Alberta, British Columbia, and Manitoba.

The new store in Royal Chapelle will feature a range of smoking accessories and cannabis lifestyle products sourced from High Tide’s portfolio of 4,300 SKUs, sourced from a range of producers and its own wholesale operation.

“As the capital of Alberta, Edmonton has always been a great market for Smoker’s Corner and we greatly look forward to strengthening our relationship with this city through our new Royal Chapelle Store,” said president and chief executive Raj Grover, who added that he was pleased to create more jobs in the city.

Rolling Out New Concepts

High Tide has just hired Rahim Kanji as chief financial officer as it seeks to become one of the leading cannabis retailers in Canada. It recently reported that revenue for the three months to Jan. 31, 2019, grew 85% to $5 million year-on-year, while it generated a loss of $3.8 million as a result of start-up costs as it rolled out Canna Cabana and Smoker’s Corner stores across Canada.

It had working capital of $15 million and it announced a $10 million offering of convertible debentures in April 2019 to strengthen its balance sheet and fund construction of Canna Cabana, KushBar, and Smoker’s Corner stores. KushBar is a new concept that will broaden its suite of retail brands.

The firm has 140 employees and that figure should rise significantly as it expands its retail empire. Alongside its retail business, it also has two wholesale arms – RGR Canada, which has a 27,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Calgary; and Famous Brandz, which works in partnership with celebrity labels and personalities like Snoop Dogg, Cheech & Chong’s Up in Smoke, Trailer Park Boys, Guns N’ Roses, and Sublime.

In Dec. 2018 it also made an eye-catching acquisition when it snapped up Grasscity, the world’s largest ecommerce site for cannabis accessories. The firm is based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and it sells bongs, dab rings, bubblers, pipes, vaporizers, grinders, rolling papers, and other parts and accessories across the world.

At the time, High Tide said that Grasscity receives 5.8 million site visits per year, has 1.1 million email recipients on its database and has 260,000 social media followers.

Alberta Market Opening Up

Last week, Alberta Gaming Liquor Cannabis finally lifted a moratorium on new cannabis retail licenses due to an increase in supply. It had to impose a hiatus on new retail applications in Nov. 2018 as it could not guarantee enough supply, but it now feels that it can secure enough marijuana to allow new stores to open.

It pledged to grant five new cannabis retail licenses per week going forward. High Tide celebrated the news and said it can now set about launching 19 new Canna Cabana and four new KushBar stores in Alberta.

“Now that the moratorium has been lifted, High Tide’s retail segment can resume its high rate of growth by helping satisfy the strong demand for legal cannabis products throughout Alberta,” said Grover.

The opinions provided in this article are those of the author and do not constitute investment advice. Readers should assume that the author and/or employees of Capital 10X hold positions in the company or companies mentioned in the article. For more information, please see our Content Disclaimer.

Martin Green
Martin Green is an experienced journalist with a strong focus on the cannabis, alcohol, and gambling industries. He is particularly interested in the political issues affecting the global marijuana trade, and he has a keen focus on regulation changes and legal topics. He holds a BA English Literature, MA Creative Writing and a National Qualification in Journalism diploma. He has worked in journalism since 2009 and written for a broad range of newspapers, business titles and magazines, including The Sun, The Metro, The Journal, Livestrong, Drinks Retailing News, Harpers, Sportsbook Review, Vital Football, Essex Live and Surrey Live.

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