NSLC Announces Quarter Three Results

Halifax, February 19, 2019 – The NSLC released its third quarter results today (October 1, 2018 to December 30th, 2018) Compared to last year:

  • Net income (earnings) totaled $65 million; down $0.8 million or 1.2%
  • Total sales were $180.9 million; an increase of $15.2 million or 9.2%
  • Beverage alcohol sales were $163.5 million and recreational cannabis sales were $17.4 million.
  • Total volume of beverage alcohol sold was down 2.2%
  • Customer transactions (purchases) for beverage alcohol were down 2.1%, but the average dollar value of each transaction grew by 0.7%
  • Customer transactions for cannabis totaled 456,822 transactions with an average dollar value of $38.05

“This was an exceptional quarter for us with the ground-breaking rollout of the legal recreational cannabis market,” said George McLellan, NSLC Acting President & CEO. “Our employees excelled every step of the way, learning about an entirely new product category and developing systems to support the responsible offering of this new product category.” 

“We were excited to add locally produced recreational cannabis to our product offerings shortly after legalization,” Mr. McLellan said. “We now carry products from two Nova Scotia producers and look forward to supporting more local producers as they receive their licenses from Health Canada to sell.”


Recreational cannabis sales totalled $17.4 million during the first two and a half months of legalization and beverage alcohol sales in the Third Quarter totalled $163.5 million.


Changes to net income were a result of timing of New Year’s Eve, which fell in the Fourth Quarter this year compared to the Third Quarter last year, as well as preparations for the retailing of recreational cannabis.


The corporation continues to focus on providing exceptional customer service, promote responsible enjoyment, support local industry and offer value to customers. The NSLC is diligent with expense controls and excited to see continued strong growth in the sales of quality products made in Nova Scotia. 

Business Highlights

Sales Comparison by Category

Category Revenue Volume (Hectolitres sold by NSLC) Per Cent of Total Sales
Wine 1.6% to $41.0M 3.3% 22.7%
Spirits 1.4% to $48.0M 1.9% 26.6%
Beer 3.1% to $65.0M 3.4% 36.0%
Ready-To-Drink 14.7% to $9.4M 14.9% 5.2%
Cannabis 17.4M N/A 9.6%

Sales by Channel

Channel Sales Change
NSLC Retail Stores $152.6M $15.0M (11.2%)
Licensees (bars/restaurants/pubs) $12.7M $0.4M (3.3%)
Agency Stores (independently owned) $11.4M $0.1M (1.1%)
Private Wine and Specialty Stores $3.2M $0.2M (5.0%)
Other Wholesale $0.4M $0.2M (99.1%)
Online $0.6M $0.5M (351.4%)

Business Highlights

  • Sales of cannabis produced in Nova Scotia were $1 million or 5.9 per cent of total cannabis sales in the quarter. 
  • Efforts to promote responsible choices were in full-swing throughout the holiday season with the NSLC’s Cabbioke participating in 10 parades, 2 community events and 9 store visits.
  • As part of our Keep the Good Going program to manage the responsible sale of beverage alcohol, we asked for ID 560,190 times and refused service 4,956 times.

Local Product Sales Highlights

The growth in local industry continues to be strong, driven by innovation in the categories, the expansion of businesses and quality products.

  • Nova Scotia ready-to-drink products, which are largely ciders, had a strong quarter with sales increasing by 89.3% to $2.0 million.
  • Nova Scotia craft beer sales grew by 23.7% to $4.0 million. The NSLC now lists products from 24 local breweries, up from six breweries just five years ago.
  • Nova Scotia spirit sales grew by 21.5% to $2.4 million.
  • Nova Scotia commercial beer contributed $38.5 million in sales, down $1.4M or 3.6%.
  • Nova Scotia wine sales were down by 2.5% to $3.5 million.
  • Nova Scotia commercial wine sales (produced in Nova Scotia with imported grapes) were down 3.7% to $6.2 million.

Operating Expense Ratio

The NSLC’s operating expense ratio for the quarter – including amortization and depreciation – was 16.3 % compared to 15.3% reported for the same period last year. This increase was due to expenses related to the introduction of recreational cannabis.

Board Expenses

The NSLC released the Board of Directors’ expenses for the fourth quarter. These expenses amounted to $2.05 per Director, per day. An electronic version of these expenses are available here.

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 visit our website at myNSLC.com.

For more information please contact:

Beverley Ware

Communications Advisor


O: (902) 450-5920

M: (902) 456-5040

 Financial Highlights

For the quarter ended December 30, 2018

Q3 2018/2019 2017/2018
Sales Volume (Hectolitres) 190,960 195,313
Spirits $48,024,345 $48,685,895
Wine 41,004,189 41,661,794
Beer 65,033,330 67,105,727
Ready-To-Drink 9,393,695 8,190,950
Cannabis 17,382,156 -
Non-Liquor 42,317 49,307
Total Sales by Category $180,880,031 $165,693,673
Gross Profit $94,302,364 $90,910,170
Store Operating Expenses (18,246,653) (16,399,998)
Gross Operating income $76,055,711 $74,510,171
Other Corporate Expenses & Other earnings (11,293,511) (8,985,482)
Income from Operations $64,762,200 $65,524,690

For the 9 months ended December 30, 2018

YTD Q3 2018/2019 2017/2018
Sales Volume (Hectolitres) 634,037 633,285
Spirits $130,278,054 $130,862,040
Wine 114,080,357 115,874,208
Beer 221,016,082 223,125,500
Ready-To-Drink 37,033,508 31,170,501
Cannabis 17,382,156 -
Non-Liquor 95,569 111,151
Total Sales by Category $519,885,726 $501,143,399
Gross Profit $277,400,301 $273,300,145
Store Operating Expenses (51,791,670) (48,349,850)
Gross Operating income $225,608,631 $224,950,295
Other Corporate Expenses & Other earnings (31,723,962) (27,788,924)
Income from Operations $193,884,669 $197,161,371



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