NSLC releases First Quarter financial performance

Halifax – August 22, 2023 ­­–  The NSLC released its first quarter financial results today (April 1, 2023 – July 2, 2023), reporting a 1.9% decrease in earnings to $70.7 million. Total sales for the quarter were down 0.1% to $219.1 million, with beverage alcohol sales of $190.0 million and cannabis sales of $29.1 million.

“We experienced a slight decline in beverage alcohol sales this quarter,” said Greg Hughes, President & CEO. “In spite of this decline, our sales performance overall is still ahead of pre-pandemic levels.”

Beverage alcohol sales decreased by 1.1% and cannabis sales increased by 6.7% when compared to the previous year. Despite an overall decrease, sales to bars, pubs and restaurants increased by 5.9% to $13.7 million, and sales to Agency stores increased by 1.1% to $17.2 million. Sales of local beverage alcohol and cannabis increased by 5.7% to $32.8 million led by Nova Scotia cannabis sales, which grew 22.2% to $9.5 million.

“This quarter the average price of cannabis per gram was further reduced 2.1% to $6.02, compared to last year, as we work to impact illicit sales in the province,” Hughes said. “Local cannabis products now account for 32.6% of all cannabis sales at the NSLC.”

Corporate social responsibility is at the heart of who we are. Our people are driven by the good we do and our commitment to having a positive impact on the communities we serve.

With the support of our supplier partners, generous customers and participating Agency stores, our team members raised $685,000 for the month-long IWK Campaign and $200,000 in support of the Red Cross Canada Wildfire Fund Appeal.

In April, with the support of our supplier partners, the NSLC’s For the Good of the Community Fund recipients were announced, which resulted in total funding of $140,000 to provide grants to 11 non-profit organizations across the province. This included supporting the Clean Foundation to restore an altered salt marsh at Sitmu’k in Pictou Landing First Nation, and Independent Living Nova Scotia who help provide cooking and connection workshops to gain cooking, meal planning, and budgeting skills to Nova Scotians with disabilities and their families.

In all, 80 NSLC employees volunteered more than 540 hours to give back to our communities throughout the quarter.

Q1 Business Highlights

  • Our diligent front-line employees asked customers who appeared to be under the age of 30 for valid photo ID 567,970 times and refused service 5,227 times.
  • Together with our team members, supplier partners, generous customers, and participating Agency stores, we raised a total of $685,000 for the IWK Foundation – the most significant fundraising effort in the NSLC’s history.
  • On the heels of our IWK Campaign, we kicked off a week-long at-cash campaign in support of Red Cross Canada Wildfire Fund Appeal. Together with our team members and generous customers, we raised $200,000.
  • As volunteer sponsor of the 35th annual East Coast Music Awards, 50 NSLC team members volunteered at the event.

Financial Highlights (compared to the same period last year):

  • Net income (earnings) totaled $70.7 million, a decrease of $1.4 million or 1.9%.
  • Total sales were $219.1 million, a decrease of $0.3 million or 0.1%.
  • Cannabis sales were $29.1 million, an increase of 6.7%.
  • Beverage alcohol sales were $190.0 million, a decrease of 1.1%.
  • The total sales of local beverage alcohol and local cannabis sold increased by 5.7%.
  • Retail customer transactions for beverage alcohol decreased by 3.7% and the average value of each transaction increased by 2.4%.
  • Retail customer transactions for cannabis increased by 8.9% and the average dollar value of each transaction decreased by 2.0% to $37.63.
  • The average price per gram for cannabis decreased by 2.1% to $6.02.

Local Product Sales Highlights

Beverage Alcohol

  • Nova Scotia ready-to-drink sales increased by 1.2% to $8.8 million.
    • Local cooler sales increased by 0.9% to $7.1 million.
    • Local cider sales increased by 2.3% to $1.7 million.
  • Nova Scotia craft beer sales increased by 0.9% to $7.7 million.
  • Nova Scotia spirit sales decreased by 0.2% to $2.9 million.
  • Nova Scotia wine sales decreased by 1.1% to $4.0 million.


  • Nova Scotia cannabis sales led the growth in local products with a 22.2% increase in sales to $9.5 million.
  • Nova Scotia cannabis accounts for 32.6% of all cannabis sales, the largest we have seen to date.





Sales Volume (Hectolitres)












Ready to Drink









Total Sales by Category



Gross Profit



Operating Expenses



Gross Operating Income



Other Corporate Expenses & Other Earnings



Income from Operations




Sales by Channel

Channel Sales Change
NSLC Stores $183.1M $0.5M (-0.3%)
Licensees (bars/restaurants/pubs) $13.7M $0.8M (5.9%)
Agency Stores (independently owned) $17.2M $0.2M (1.1%)
Private Wine and Specialty Stores $4.5M $0.8M (-14.5%)
Other Wholesale $0.1M $0.09M (-5.7%)
Online $0.5M $0.1M (31.2%)

Operating Expense Ratio

The NSLC’s operating expense ratio for the fiscal quarter, including amortization and depreciation, was 17.2% compared to 16.6% reported the prior year. 


Board Expenses

The NSLC released the Board of Directors’ expenses for the quarter. These expenses amounted to $3.83 per Director, per day. An electronic version of these expenses are available to download.


About the NSLC

The NSLC manages the safe and responsible sale of beverage alcohol and cannabis in Nova Scotia, returning 100% of its profits to government to help fund key public services. The NSLC aspires to be a trusted retailer, partner, employer, and responsible industry steward that is helping to create a stronger Nova Scotia. For more information about the NSLC, please visit our website at myNSLC.com.

For more information please contact:
Terah McKinnon
Senior Communications Advisor, External Relations
O: (902) 450-5847
M: (902) 717-0979



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