CALGARY, April 22, 2020 /CNW/ – YSS Corp.™ (the “Company” or “YSS“) (TSXV: YSS) (WKN: A2PMAX), a premier Canadian cannabis retailer with operations under the YSSTM and Sweet TreeTM brands and a trusted destination to explore and discover cannabis in Canada, is pleased to announce its fourth quarter and year end 2019 financial results and provide a preliminary outlook on Q1 2020.
2019 was an eventful year for YSS, highlighted by growth from zero to 14 operating stores, three acquisitions, multiple corporate changes and cannabis sector volatility, all in the headwinds of industry challenges including supply shortages, multiple licensing moratoriums, an evolving regulatory environment, competition from the black market, industry scandals and delays in cannabis 2.0 product roll-out. The Company’s unwavering focus on fundamentals, corporate flexibility and value creation, supported by conservative financial and operational practices, was critical to navigating 2019 and has positioned YSS for sustainability in 2020 and beyond, despite recent industry challenges and the broader potential business and economic impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m extremely proud of our team’s performance and accomplishments in 2019,” said Theo Zunich, President and CEO of YSS. “The Canadian cannabis industry continues to offer attractive growth potential and we are positioning the Company to capture that growth. In 2019 we developed a sound foundation, highlighted by strides made in Q1 2020, that we can continue to build on during the rest of the year with the objective of exiting 2020 with a positive run-rate EBITDA.”
|Non-IFRS measure. Store-Level EBITDA is defined as revenue less cost of goods sold and operating costs before corporate general & administrative expenses and Corporate EBITDA is defined as Store-Level EBITDA less corporate general & administrative costs.|
|Results Snapshot:||Q4 2019||Full Year 2019|
|Gross Margin ($000s)||$1,067||$2,701|
|Gross Margin (%)||29%||32%|
|Store-Level EBITDA1 ($000s)||$36||$821|
|Corporate EBITDA1 ($000s)||($896)||($2,224)|
- Cash on hand at December 31, 2019 of $6.4 million with no debt obligations, positions YSS with the financial flexibility to support the Company’s operations, organic growth initiatives and strategic acquisition opportunities.
- Inventories of cannabis and cannabis accessories totaled $1.0 million at the end of Q4 2019, compared to $1.3 million at the end of Q3 2019, reflective of the Company’s successful inventory optimization strategies.
- Organic store build-out costs averaged $379 thousand on the most recent six stores, a 27% decrease from the first six constructed stores.
- Established critical operational foundation and technology implementation to facilitate efficient future expansion with limited incremental general and administrative expenses.
2019 Year in Review
The first full calendar year of cannabis legalization in Canada proved to be illustrative of the dynamics and challenges of an industry at the very beginning of its life cycle. Expectations, analyst forecasts and growth were muted by regulatory delays and uncertainty, supply chain issues, and competition from the black market. Progress was made in 2019 but the year is not representative of the ultimate potential of the cannabis industry in Canada.
Over the past twelve months, YSS remained focused on building an organization that is prudently managed within an early stage industry that offers attractive, multi-year growth potential. The Company believes that adhering to capital discipline and fundamental retail principles are the keys to success as the industry aligns with the traditional consumer packaged goods sector; cost controls and operational efficiencies are critical. Throughout 2019, YSS has demonstrated the ability to pivot as needed, to move aggressively or defensively depending on market conditions, and has maintained a strong balance sheet that will enable it to weather uncertainty and execute on growth strategies.
During the fourth quarter of 2019, the market conditions in Alberta became more representative of a competitive retail environment with hundreds of new cannabis store entrants, an improving supply dynamic and material wholesale price decreases. Existing cannabis stores in Alberta were confronted with new aggressive competition and forced to cut margins to both compete and liquidate old inventory purchased at higher wholesale prices. Meanwhile, the legal market, as a whole, made small steps in capturing its share of the black market. Data analysis demonstrating growing traffic and stable basket sizes, despite the increased competition and reduced product prices, supports these conclusions. YSS views the fourth quarter of 2019 as a corporate baseline period for future results.
Q1 2020 Outlook
- Subsequent to year end, YSS opened three additional locations, including its two flagship stores in Calgary (YSS 4th Avenue and Sweet Tree 17th Avenue), as well as YSS Grande Prairie, which brought the Company’s operating stores to 17.
- Forecast revenue for Q1 2020 is expected to be approximately $4.2 million, representing an 15% increase over Q4 2019.
- Gross margin in Q1 2020 is forecast to be approximately $1.3 million, representing a 30% gross margin as a percentage of sales for the quarter and a 19% increase in gross margin over Q4 2019.
The initial introduction of cannabis edibles in January 2020 further diversified YSS’ product offering and has been met with strong demand and positive customer feedback. On February 7, 2020, the Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis Commission (“AGLC”) reversed the decision to postpone the introduction of cannabis vaporizer products, which became available in Alberta stores mid-February and have proven to be the highest growth product in the quarter. Additional cannabis 2.0 products, including gummies, beverages, topicals and concentrates, are now available in limited supplies and dried flower supply continues to improve in terms of quality, price and availability. The improving supply dynamic will continue to enhance YSS’ exciting suite of products.
YSS Operational Update
The current COVID-19 situation has created an unprecedented operating environment for many businesses, including YSS. Cannabis retail has been deemed an essential service and allowable business in Alberta and Saskatchewan, respectively, and YSS and Sweet Tree stores remain open with reduced operating hours. Although operations have not been materially disrupted, YSS follows a general practice of continually pursuing optimization strategies and is collaborating with landlords and investigating government sponsored assistance programs that would further solidify corporate stability.
Trust has always been one of the Company’s core business values and now, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, trust is prioritized more than ever. YSS cares deeply about the safety and well-being of its employees, customers, and partners, and has put measures in place to ensure stores are clean and safe. In addition, YSS will be launching its click-and-collect platform in the coming days. More information on our COVID-19 response and the launch of click-and-collect can be found at the YSS website: www.ysscorp.ca.
In Alberta, YSS is advancing plans to commence construction on two locations, one in Calgary and one in Edmonton.
In Ontario, YSS has received its Retail Operator License from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (“AGCO“) and has applied for a Retail Store Authorization for its Waterloo location. Restrictions on non-essential construction and a temporary pause on issuing new Retail Store Authorizations limits further progress at this time. The Company’s strategy is to remain focused but flexible in Ontario where progress is not critical to the short-term goal of exiting the year with a positive run-rate EBITDA .
Selected financial and operational information is outlined in this press release and should be read in conjunction with YSS’ the audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2019 (the “annual financial statements”) and the related management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”), each of which is filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.comand posted to the Company’s website at https://ysscorp.ca/.
For information on store locations and opening dates please visit www.ysscorp.ca, www.sweettreecannabis.com and follow us on social media.
For additional information regarding YSS Corp. please see the Company’s website at www.ysscorp.ca/investors and filings available under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
About YSS Corp.
With retail operations under the YSSTM and Sweet TreeTM brands, YSS Corp. is a premium cannabis retailer and the trusted destination to explore and discover cannabis in Canada. YSS operates 17 locations across Alberta and in Saskatchewan under the YSS and Sweet Tree brands. In addition, YSS maintains a strategic portfolio of under construction, secured and prospective locations that represent future organic growth potential for the Company. YSS management brings proven expertise across capital markets, retail operations, hospitality, cannabis, financial management and a strong commitment to deliver shareholder value by leveraging high-quality opportunities within this exciting new industry. The YSS retail experience is built on our five fundamental pillars: convenience, value, selection, team, and above all else, trust.
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
This news release may include forward-looking statements including opinions, assumptions, estimates, the Company’s assessment of future plans and operations, and, more particularly, statements concerning: YSS’ retail cannabis business strategy, including organic growth and strategic activities; the Company’s operations; COVID-19, the Company’s continuous monitoring thereof, actions taken in response thereto and the impact on the Company’s business, financial condition and results of operations; the sustainability of the Company in 2020 and beyond; the objective of exiting 2020 with a positive run-rate EBITDA; the Company’s business strategy, including its adherence to capital discipline and fundamental retail principals and the impact thereof; the Company’s strong balance sheet position that will enable it to weather uncertainty and execute on growth strategies; the supply of cannabis 2.0 products; the future performance of the operating retail cannabis stores, including the forecasted revenue and gross margin for the first quarter of 2020; the Company’s construction plans for two locations in Alberta; the Company’s strategy with respect to entering into Ontario; and the Company’s click and collect platform and timing thereof. When used in this document, the words “will,” “anticipate,” “believe,” “estimate,” “expect,” “intent,” “may,” “project,” “should,” and similar expressions are intended to be among the statements that identify forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements are founded on the basis of expectations and assumptions made by the Company. Forward-looking statements are subject to a wide range of risks and uncertainties and, although the Company believes that the expectations represented by such forward-looking statements are reasonable, there can be no assurance that such expectations will be realized. Any number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to: risks relating to COVID-19, government regulation and laws and changes thereto (including with respect to cannabis and COVID-19); the Company’s operations; the Company’s ability to capitalize on potential opportunities that may arise and the ability to exercise thereon; risks relating to future acquisitions, construction and development of new stores; the receipt of necessary permits, licenses and regulatory and third party approvals and the timing thereof; competition; the ability of management to execute its strategic plan; dependence on key personnel; labour costs, shortages and labour relations; availability of cannabis products and accessories from licensed producers and suppliers; supply interruption or delays; dependence on suppliers; intellectual property risks; risks related to product recalls and product liability; unfavourable publicity and consumer perception with respect to cannabis generally and cannabis administration; risks related to cybersecurity; industry conditions and events; the size of the recreational cannabis market; changing customer habits; the state of the economy including general economic conditions in Canada, the U.S. and globally; the unpredictability and volatility of the price of the common shares; restrictions on potential growth; availability of sufficient financial resources to fund the Company’s capital expenditures; changes in tax rates and government mark-ups; the state of domestic capital markets; the ability to obtain financing; changes in general market conditions; and other factors more fully described from time to time in the reports and filings made by the Company with securities regulatory authorities. Please refer to the Company’s management’s discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2019 for additional risk factors relating to the Company, which can be accessed under the Company’s profile on www.sedar.com.
Except as required by applicable laws, the Company does not undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
This news release contains future-oriented financial information and financial outlook information (collectively, “FOFI”) about the Company’s revenue and gross margin, which are subject to the same assumptions, risk factors, limitations, and qualifications as set forth in the above paragraphs. FOFI contained in this document was approved by management as of the date of this document and was provided for the purpose of providing further information about YSS’ future business operations. YSS disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any FOFI contained in this document, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required pursuant to applicable law. Readers are cautioned that the FOFI contained in this document should not be used for purposes other than for which it is disclosed herein.
Store-level EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest Tax Depreciation Amortization) is not a measure recognized by IFRS and does not have a standardized meaning prescribed by International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”). Investors are cautioned that this measure should not be relied on as an indicator of the Company’s financial performance, of its cash flows from operating, investing and financing activities or be relied on as a measure of its liquidity and cash flows. The Company’s method of calculating the aforementioned non-IFRS financial measure, may differ from the methods used by other issuers. Therefore, this measure may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. Please refer to the MD&A for additional information relating to non-IFRS measures.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.
SOURCE YSS Corp.
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Investor or Media Contacts: Theo Zunich, President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Phone: (403) 455-7656; Stephanie Bunch, CA, Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Phone: (403) 455-7656; YSS Corp., Suite 800, 138-4th Ave SE, Calgary, AB T2G 4Z6, firstname.lastname@example.org OR Cindy Gray, 5 Quarters Investor Relations, Inc., (403) 231-4372 or email@example.com|