What are NSLC's Economic Considerations?
A vital element of any Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy is the economic sustainability of the business. Balancing the social, environmental and business needs of the organization; the triple bottom line is key to the long-term success of the NSLC. For the NSLC, balancing the triple bottom line in a sustainable manner means delivering increased returns to the shareholder and improved customer experience and satisfaction, in parallel with the NSLC's legislated mandate.
Since 2001, the NSLC has undergone a profound transition in becoming a leader in Nova Scotia retailing. Today, the NSLC is a modernized, customer focused, retail organization vying for the customers’ entertainment dollar and disposable income. Successful retailers provide customers with the complete shopping experience. How this translates is that there is the need to constantly engage NSLC customers and with that comes the demand of unique store atmosphere, employee interaction and knowledge, product variety, value offers and personalized service.
NSLC’s ongoing success depends largely on the ability to respond to today’s market realities. It is essential that the NSLC continues to provide shoppers with a retailing experience that meets and exceeds their expectations.
The NSLC’s long term earnings escalation is the result of many things; one is the NSLC’s commitment to exceeding customer expectations. The NSLC continues its strategic activities in the continued interest of sound investments that are positioned in all aspects of the business. Creating the right store and customer experience for the right market and to deliver the NSLC’s customer promise is, and continues to be the top priority.
Statistics Canada census data indicates that 78.5 percent of the Nova Scotia population is of legal age to consume beverage alcohol. Surveys also indicate that 26 percent of those do not shop for alcohol. As a result, the NSLC customer base consists of approximately 535,000 people, most of whom, visit an NSLC store at least once a month.
Now consider the fact the Nova Scotia population is not growing, it’s also aging. The Nova Scotia Department of Finance release from the 2006 Census of Canada on Age and Sex notes, “The aging of the Baby Boomers coupled with out-migration to other provinces of women of child-bearing age and increasing life expectancy has made the population of Nova Scotia one of the oldest in Canada.”
This statistic is anticipated to drive changes in consumption patterns and product demand. In a response to shifts in market realities, the NSLC projects a solid balance between the aging population, who generally prefer premium products, however, may consume less.
Additionally, the NSLC customer base changes with seasonal variations. This includes the substantial influx of visitors and tourists during the summer months, and in the fall, the return of students to university populated areas, for example: Halifax, Wolfville and Antigonish. While the return of students each fall is fairly consistent, the number of tourists visiting the province each year is not always as stable.
Wholesale sales account for approximately 20 percent of the NSLC’s gross sales. The wholesale market includes the 2,100 licensed establishments in Nova Scotia (restaurants, bars, hotels, and lounges), representing 59 percent of the total (wholesale market of 19 percent), Private Wine and Specialty Stores account for 9 percent, and NSLC Agency Stores represent another 32 percent of the total wholesale market.
The vendors and agents, representing product manufactures and
wholesalers, are critical NSLC stakeholders. There are approximately 80 beverage alcohol agencies in Nova Scotia with approximately 130 registered representatives. Currently, the NSLC lists approximately 5,900 products from more than 50 countries.
Nova Scotia Per Capita Consumption
Recent data indicates that per capita, Nova Scotia consumption levels of beer and wine continue to run below the national average, even though consumption of wine has been trending steadily up for the last six years. In contrast, Nova Scotia’s per capita consumption of spirits has been and continues to be above the national average. This data also reveals that per capita cooler consumption continues to rise in Nova Scotia, while on a national level, data suggests that cooler consumption peaked a couple of years ago and now is declining.
According to the Retail Council of Canada, the retail industry is the largest employer in Nova Scotia, accounting for approximately 13 percent of the labour force and generating more than $10 billion in sales annually.
As a leader in Nova Scotia retailing, the NSLC has successfully implemented strategies that have gained an increased share of Nova Scotia’s disposable income. Strategy tactics include: varied and improved product offering, providing pleasing and convenient places to shop, expanded number of stores, increased hours of operation, Sunday store openings and an expansion of the agency store program.
Retail positioning has increasingly taken priority in the strategic planning of new NSLC developments. Research indicates that by positioning NSLC retail stores next to a grocery retailer dramatically improves customer convenience. In the effort to better serve customers, the NSLC continues to modernize and maximize space, concepts, design and locations.
Since 2006, the NSLC has been recognized with more than 54 awards by third party organizations; both nationally and internationally. Recently, the NSLC was recognized for delivering one of the top marketing campaigns in the world for the Lots of Ways campaign that promoted safe and alternative ways to get home safely after enjoying a social occasion.
Proudly, in the 2008 World Retail Awards the NSLC was the only Canadian retailer to be nominated. Nationally, the NSLC has been recognized by the Retail Council of Canada with these recent awards: 2006, Best Retail Corporate Responsibility Initiative for Lots of Ways; 2007, Best Merchandising Initiative in Canada with the innovation of the “Coolzone” and; 2007, Health and Safety Award for the successful implementation of the NSLC Health and Safety Initiative.
The NSLC measures customer satisfaction by those who shop at its stores. Customer satisfaction is additionally measured by research pertinent to customer’s retail experiences at the NSLC against other retail businesses in the province. This latter rating includes: top-of-mind customer impressions of top retailers in the province; retailers that offer the best shopping experience; and a ranking of retailers by shopping experience.
The results from this research indicate that when compared to other large brand name retailers, the NSLC garners the second-best score of all major retailers in the province. This represents a significant improvement compared to a year ago, when the NSLC placed sixth in the same assessment.
The NSLC has measured customer satisfaction with the key elements of the current five-year plan for the past seven quarters. Since beginning this measure, NSLC performance has increased five percent; from 84 percent in the spring of 2006 to 89 percent as of the last quarter ended December, 2008.
In addition to improved customer satisfaction, the growth in the return to NSLC’s shareholder has been unparalleled in its 80-year history. NSLC continues to sustain and lead Nova Scotia retailing by providing the responsible sale of beverage alcohol while stimulating the customer; subsequently satisfying the NSLC customer.