Mixed reviews on 2018 federal budget from Atlantic c-store retailers
The upside of more support for small business in the federal government’s February budget was offset by higher excise taxes on tobacco says Mike Hammoud, president of the Atlantic Convenience Stores Association.
“We’re certainly optimistic about the federal government’s commitment to reducing red tape, and the clearer rules around the tax treatment of passive income in private corporations,” says Hammoud. “On the other hand, excise taxes on tobacco are going up. We’ve long maintained that there’s no evidence that higher taxes reduce smoking rates and low-cost contraband products just become more appealing.”
Hammoud is hopeful that the budget announcement of new money for Canada’s food safety system will be of benefit to c-store retailers.
“The government has committed $16-million over the next three years to strengthen our food safety system, including risk intelligence, oversight and offshore activities. Grey market confectionary has been a long-standing concern in our industry and the time is right for the government to take action on this.”
Exhibiter space at inaugural Atlantic Convenience Expo sells out
Exhibiter space at the ACSA’s inaugural annual Atlantic Convenience Expo (ACE) on October 24 at the new Halifax Convention Centre in downtown Halifax has sold out and show producers are working to add 18 additional spaces.
“Supplier response to ACE has been terrific and we’re absolutely delighted that we’ve met our goal of 50 exhibiters,” says Mike Hammoud, president of the ACSA. “We should be able to accommodate more exhibiters, but there’s absolutely no doubt that we’ll have an extensive and action-packed trade show floor that will showcase the latest products and innovation ideas.”
ACE will bring together the best of the convenience retailing industry professionals for a day of learning, buying and selling, and networking fun. And it’s all designed to help participants grow their bottom line.
In addition to the trade show, ACE will feature free educational seminars that will introduce attendees to new ways of thinking for business success.
In the evening on the 24th, the ACSA will host the 10th annual Retail Convenience Awards Gala recognizing excellence in Atlantic Canada’s c-store industry.
“Dovetailing ACE in the daytime and the awards gala in the evening made a lot of sense,” says Hammoud. “And already we’ve seen a lot of interest in the awards gala from suppliers who want to be sponsors, and retailers who plan on making the 24th a full day of business, learning, networking and socializing.”
C-store retailers disappointed in Newfoundland and Labrador’s private sector cannabis
Optimism surrounding the provincial government’s decision in Newfoundland and Labrador to use the private sector to retail recreational cannabis at physical outlets in the province has turned to disappointment for many established retailers with the release of operating details.
“All-in-all there’s not a whole lot to get excited about here as a new product opportunity with the security requirements and low margins being offered,” said one c-store retailer in St. John’s who wished to remain anonymous. “We’ve struggled for years with very low margins on our beer sales and I don’t see the upside adding another low margin product.”
There are reports that the physical retail location requirements favour cannabis producers who want to be vertically integrated.
Recreational cannabis gets off to bumpy start in Prince Edward Island
Response to a tender from the PEI Liquor Control Commission for retail space for four commission-operated recreational cannabis outlets across the province has resulted, in the outset of only two sites being accepted.
The two sites accepted are in Summerside and Montague. Submissions for sites in Charlottetown and West Prince were non-compliant and the commission has re-opened the tender process.
“Again, we are seeing evidence that Government is not best suited to private sector business ventures, said Mike Hammoud,” , president of the ACSA. In Colorado, the private sector is able to offer the full retail experience. Safe and secure venues, accessory products, retail clothing, education and information – all the necessities that today’s consumer seeks in a retail shopping experience. “Government is not the best or the most efficient at retailing and they do not need to be in that business.” added Hammoud
ACSA continues push for broader beer sales in NS and PE
Building on public opinion that there should be broader availability of beer at retail, the ACSA continues to push for more licensing of c-stores in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
“One of the biggest concerns within governments has been the potential cannibalization of existing sales,” says Steve Dunne, senior consultant at the ACSA. “That has proven to not be the case. Wine sales in grocery stores in New Brunswick and more retail opportunities for craft brewers in all three Maritime provinces are prime examples.”
ASCA president Mike Hammoud says that regulators are showing openness to modernizing beverage alcohol regulations in that Prince Edward Island: “The minister of Finance has said that he’s committed to more modern and progressive regulations. He’s already deregulated essentially non-alcohol products like kombucha, a variety of fermented, lightly effervescent sweetened black or green tea drinks, and a PEI barbershop with locations in Summerside and Charlottetown has been issued a liquor license.
Over in Nova Scotia, the provincial government has been meeting with stakeholder groups, including the ACSA, to examine if and how beer or craft beer sales could be expanded.
Nova Scotia government continues to work on reducing red tape for business
Red tape reduction for business has been a major commitment by the Nova Scotia provincial government. To date, a number of initiatives have been introduced with the target of a $25-million net burden reduction that was announced in the 2017-2018 budget and as part of a broader strategy to create stronger conditions for economic growth and prosperity.
The most recent initiative was the announcement of a modernization of the registry of joint stock companies. In stakeholder workshops, government officials consistently heard about challenges with business registration and renewal, which is a process that impacts nearly all businesses in Nova Scotia.
Plans call for a new system to be rolled out in Fall 2019. With this new system, the government will make widespread use of technology so that businesses can submit and track forms and documents online 24/7. It is estimated that the new system will reduce current costs to businesses by upwards of $7-million annually.
“The ACSA has been part of stakeholder discussions and workshops for some time now,” says Mike Hammoud, president of the association. “They’ve been listening to the concerns of businesses and responding in a positive way and we appreciate that commitment.”
Holyrood, NL Circle K sells $60-million Lotto Max ticket
Thirty-one new millionaires were created in Newfoundland and Labrador on February 23 thanks to a Lotto Max ticket that was the sole winning ticket drawn. The ticket is the largest prize ever awarded in Atlantic Canada, and one of the largest in Canadian history.
The odds of winning a Lotto Max jackpot are about one in 28.6 million according to the Atlantic Lotto Corporation.
The Holyrood Circle K sold the winning ticket and receives a one per cent seller’s prize.
Upcoming events and dates… ACSA Annual Maritime Children’s Charity Golf Classic
June 7, 2018 at Fox Creek Golf Club in Dieppe, New Brunswick with proceeds going to the Boys & Girls Club of Moncton.
Contact Mike Hammoud about sponsorship opportunities ([email protected]
ACSA Annual Newfoundland and Labrador Children’s Charity Golf Classic August 16, 2018 at Clovelly Golf Club, St. John’s, Newfoundland with proceeds going to a children’s charitable cause.
Contact Mike Hammoud about sponsorship opportunities ([email protected]