LAVAL, Quebec—Alimentation Couche-Tard, multinational operator of 15,000 convenience stores, is accelerating its move into Canada’s cannabis sector through a strategic investment in Fire & Flower Holdings Corp., a leading independent cannabis retailer with headquarters in Edmonton, Alberta.
Couche-Tard’s initial $25.9-million investment gives it rights to 9.9% of Fire & Flower’s equity and the potential to increase its stake to 50.1%, according to the Global Legal Chronicle.
Last month, two Fire & Flower shops opened adjacent to Circle K stores, one in Grande Prairie and the other in Calgary, in Alberta. Both are owned and operated by Fire & Flower and sell items such as vaporizers, pipes, grinders, rolling papers, concentrate accessories and beauty items.
“With our close relationship with Couche-Tard including our co-located pilot stores, our path toward positive operating EBITDA, the removal of near-term debt maturities and a continued strengthened cash position to fund store expansion, we are positioned as a leader in Canadian cannabis retail,” said Trevor Fencott, chief executive officer of Fire & Flower.
Fire & Flower will use the funds to develop Hifyre, a retail sales platform that leverages data to deliver personalized consumer and partner engagement, and to expand its chain of 50 stores.
Canada became the first major country to allow adult-use cannabis sales in October 2018. To read more about Canada’s cannabis marketplace and the lessons it holds for potential U.S. legalization, see “Oh, Canada” in the July 2020 NACS Magazine.