Nova Scotia's network of cannabis stores will more than double over the next 12 months. The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation announced Friday it will create 14 more cannabis outlets to service areas of the province underserved by the 12 existing stores.
"It's important to us to provide legal cannabis to customers across Nova Scotia," said NSLC spokesperson Beverly Ware. "We knew that there were gaps that would need to be addressed in time."
Ware said the company also had to find stores large enough to accommodate in-store cannabis sections. The cost of retrofitting was also a factor.
When Nova Scotia started selling cannabis in the fall of 2018, the province hoped customers not located close to a store would buy online instead, but those sales have been disappointing.
"That's been a little bit of a driver behind looking at additional store locations as well," said Ware. "There has not been much of an uptake on the online offering.
"It just seems that customers want that in-store experience. They like to go into the stores and have conversations with our employees. They like to be able to see what products that we have."
The new stores will be located in:
- Annapolis Royal.
- Barrington Passage.
- Mahone Bay.
- Bedford (Mill Cove).
- Dartmouth (Tacoma Drive).
- Port Hawkesbury.
- Sydney Mines.
- Glace Bay.
The stores will range in size from roughly 60 to 300 square metres. She said the nine smaller ones will together cost about $1 million to renovate to add cannabis sales to the locations.
The remaining five will cost more because those stores are being completely renovated.
The NSLC sold $33.2 million of cannabis in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Roughly 10 per cent of that came from local producers.
Ware said having more outlets should allow the corporation to increase its sales and expand its selection, especially locally produced cannabis.
"Their products are proving to be extremely popular," she said.
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