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Retail cannabis sales year-over-year growth continues to slow, retail stores decrease

Media Partners, Stratcann

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Retail cannabis sales rebounded in February and April after dropping to their lowest in nearly a year in January 2024, according to the most recent figures from Statistics Canada

Although cannabis sales in Canada still show year-over-year growth, the increase in those sales continues to slow as the market reaches a possible saturation point.

Retail cannabis sales in Canada were $539 million in April 2024, after dropping to $518 million in January, after the holiday shopping season. Those numbers were up $11 million in February to $529 million, then declined again in March before increasing again in April to $539 million. 

Early Birds numbers are still down from a record high of $564 million in August 2023, which was followed by five months of declines before bouncing back to $539 million in December. Then, in January 2024, retail cannabis sales dropped to $518 million, using seasonally adjusted numbers. This represents a $20 million year-over-year increase from sales figures in January 2023 ($498 million).

Retail cannabis sales have continued to increase on a year-over-year basis since legalization, but the exponential increases have given way to more modest gains as the market appears to be reaching a ceiling in terms of sales. 

From January 2019 to January 2020, sales increased from $54 million to $160 million, nearly tripling. These numbers nearly doubled to $310 million by January 2021 and then increased by about one-third to $418 million by January 2022. By January 2023, that figure was $498 million; in January 2024, it was $518 million, an annual increase of only about 4%. 

Wholesale sales, price and volume of cannabis (seasonally adjusted) dropped in April from a record high of $636 million in March 2024. Previously, the high water mark in this category was $606 million in August 2023, followed by several months of declines to a low of $515 million in January 2024 before increasing again in February and March.

The number of retail stores across Canada also declined by 26 stores As of June 21, 2024 there were 3,663 authorized retail cannabis stores in Canada, down from 3,689 in March. This figure is excluding provincial online stores.

The declines came from BC and Alberta, with BC showing 25 fewer stores and Alberta losing 44. All other provinces showed increases or stayed the same.

  • British Columbia: 487 public and private stores, either open or “coming soon”; down from 512 in March. (-25)
  • Alberta: 708, down from 752 in March (-44)
  • Saskatchewan: 187, up from 185 in March (+2)
  • Manitoba: 206, 124 of which are in Winnipeg, up from 204 in March (+2)
  • Ontario: 1,807 listed as authorized to open, up from 1,778 in March (+29)
  • Quebec: 99, up from 98 in March. (+1)
  • New Brunswick: 27 public stores, up from 25 in March, plus eight private stores and six farmgate stores for a total of 41 (2 more private stores are expected to open in late June) (+2)
  • Nova Scotia: 50, up from 49 in March. (+1)
  • PEI: 5 up from 4 in January. (+1)
  • Newfoundland and Labrador: 59, up from 55 in March. (+4)
  • Northwest Territories: 6 brick-and-mortar locations, plus 1 private online store
  • Nunavut: 2, up from 1 in March. (+1)
  • Yukon: 6

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