NSLC Announces 2019 Year End Results

Halifax, June 18, 2019 – The NSLC released its year-end results today (April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019). Compared to last year:

  • Net income (earnings) totaled $237 million; down $1.2 million or 0.5%
  • Total sales were $662.1 million; an increase of $36.4 million or 5.8%
  • Beverage alcohol sales were $628.9 million and recreational cannabis sales were $33.2 million.
  • Total volume of beverage alcohol sold was up 0.2% 
  • Retail customer transactions (purchases) for beverage alcohol were down 0.3%, but the average dollar value of each transaction grew by 0.9% to $30.67 
  • Retail customer transactions for cannabis totaled 866,800 with an average dollar value of $38.29

“It was a milestone year for the NSLC with the introduction of recreational cannabis. The roll out went exceptionally well, especially when considering this was such an enormous undertaking,” said Greg Hughes, President & CEO. “I am excited to join the NSLC and look forward to continued success in the year ahead.”

Beverage alcohol sales totaled $628.9 million for the year and recreational cannabis sales totaled $33.2 million during the first five and a half months of legalization. Beverage alcohol sales growth was positive, but there was a slight decrease in net income resulting from increased expenses due to the implementation of cannabis.

In addition to investing in our retail network this year, the NSLC continued its strong focus on promoting responsible enjoyment through Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. The team at retail asked for ID more than two million times throughout the fiscal year as we work to reduce the risk of our products getting into the hands of minors.

Local craft beer, spirits, wines and ready-to-drink products also continued to see growth as Nova Scotians embrace these quality products made by local businesses.

Business Highlights

Sales Comparison by Category

Category Revenue Volume (Hectolitres sold by NSLC) Per Cent of Total Sales
Wine 1.1% to $142.9M 2.7% 21.6%
Spirits 0.0% to $165.7M 0.7% 25%
Beer 0.9% to $275.7M 0.9% 41.6%
Ready-To-Drink 19.7% to $44.5M 19.4% 6.7%
Cannabis $33.2M  N/A 5%

Sales by Channel

Channel Sales Change
NSLC Retail Stores $547.0M $35.8M (7.0%)
Licensees (bars/restaurants/pubs) $52.5M $0.7M (1.2%)
Agency Stores (independently owned) $48.1M $0.5M (1.0%)
Private Wine and Specialty Stores $12.4M $0.1M (0.9%)
Other Wholesale $0.9M $0.1M (8.1%)
Online $1.2M $0.8M (179.2%)

Operating Expense Ratio

The NSLC’s operating expense ratio for the year – including amortization and depreciation – was 17.1 % compared to 16.4% reported for the same period last year. This increase is a result of the expenses associated with the introduction of recreational cannabis into the NSLC’s retail network and online sales channel.

Board Expenses

The NSLC released the Board of Directors’ expenses for the fourth quarter. These expenses amounted to $3.88 per Director, per day. An electronic version of these expenses is available HERE.

Local Product Sales Highlights

The growth in local industry continues to be strong, driven by quality products and continued innovation in the categories:

  • Nova Scotia wine sales were up by 2.5% to $11.7 million.
  • Nova Scotia craft beer sales grew by 27.3% to $16.7 million. The NSLC now lists products from 29 local breweries, up from six breweries just five years ago.
  • Nova Scotia spirit sales grew by 28.5% to $7.8 million.
  • Nova Scotia commercial wine sales (produced in Nova Scotia with imported grapes) were down 2.6% to $22.7 million.
  • Nova Scotia commercial beer contributed $162.1 million in sales, down 1.5% or $2.5 million.
  • Nova Scotia ready-to-drink products, which are largely ciders and coolers, had a strong year with sales increasing by 80.9% to $7.8 million.

About the NSLC

The NSLC manages the safe and responsible sale of beverage alcohol and recreational cannabis in Nova Scotia, returning 100% of its profits to government to help fund key public services. As a true partner in our communities, the NSLC conducts its business with integrity and respect for the environment, while supporting the growth of local industry. For more information about the NSLC, please click HERE.

For more information please contact:

Beverley Ware

Communications Advisor


O: (902) 450-5920

M: (902) 456-5040

Financial Highlights

For the quarter ended March 31, 2019.

Q4 2018/2019 2017/2018
Sales Volume (Hectolitres) 155,985 155,108
Spirits $35,385,793 $34,865,830
Wine 28,788,997 28,629,424
Beer 54,733,903 55,000,062
Ready-To-Drink 7,464,906 6,003,872
Cannabis 15,806,425 N/A
Non-Liquor 18,163 19,305
Total Sales by Category $142,198,187 $124,518,493
Gross Profit $73,441,296 $68,224,759
Store Operating Expenses (18,075,572) (15,205,902)
Gross Operating income $55,365,724 $53,018,857
Other Corporate Expenses & Other earnings (11,877,708) (11,574,538)
Income from Operations $43,488,016 $41,444,319

For the 12 months ended March 31, 2019 

YTD Q4 2018/2019 2017/2018
Sales Volume (Hectolitres) 790,022 788,393
Spirits $165,663,847 $165,727,870
Wine 142,869,354 144,503,632
Beer 275,749,985 278,125,562
Ready-To-Drink 44,498,414 37,174,373
Cannabis 33,188,581 N/A
Non-Liquor 113,732 130,455
Total Sales by Category $662,083,913 $625,661,892
Gross Profit $350,841,597 $341,524,904
Store Operating Expenses (69,867,242) (63,555,752)
Gross Operating income $280,974,355 $277,969,152
Other Corporate Expenses & Other earnings (43,601,670) (39,363,462)
Income from Operations $237,372,685 $238,605,690


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