The partnership between convenience store giant Alimentation Couche-Tard and Canadian cannabis retailer Fire & Flower (Fire & Flower Stock Quote, Chart, NewsTSX:FAF) is a key difference-maker for FAF, says ATB Capital Markets analyst David Kideckel.
The analyst provided an update to clients on Monday where he maintained his “Speculative Buy” rating and one-year target of $1.80, representing at press time a projected return of 150 per cent.
Edmonton-based Fire & Flower, which has 51 retail stores in Canada across Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and the Yukon, along with its Hifyre digital platform for cannabis retail and data analysis, announced on Monday a pilot program which will see two FAF stores paired up adjacent to ATD Circle K stores in Alberta.
The aim is for the cannabis outlets to benefit from the high traffic at the convenience stores, which are separate from the Circle K stores according to provincial regulations. FAF CEO Trevor Fencott called the initiative another step in building the relationship with ATD.
“We believe that combining convenient pickup locations with digital engagement offered by the Hifyre platform and Spark Perks program presents our customers with a differentiated value proposition in an increasingly competitive cannabis retail market.
This approach to innovation in omni-channel and convenience-oriented cannabis retail differentiates Fire & Flower and positions us well to capitalize on both domestic and international opportunities,” said Fencott in a press release.
In his report, Kideckel said, “We view this announcement as positive, indicating one of many ways FAF can benefit from the partnership with ATD. Moreover, we view this pilot program as an indication that the partnership is progressing well and that both companies are strategically aligned.”
The ATD partnership sets FAF apart in the Canadian retail cannabis space, according to Kideckel, who said the customer experience powers of FAF’s Hifyre platform should combine nicely with data collected by ATD to create “an even more enhanced experience,” says Kideckel, one which should lead to higher customer traffic over time.
“FAF can leverage Hifyre to advance its retail operations through the Spark Perks Program, which now has more than 110,000 members, as well as explore high-margin monetization options (HifyreIQ and HifyreONE), including through international expansion,” said Kideckel.
The analyst said FAF, like the rest of the cannabis sector, faces near-term headwinds related to COVID-19, regulatory hurdles in the industry and “overall adverse industry conditions,” but that once these headwinds subside, the well-capitalized Fire & Flower should be “poised to capture a large share of the Canadian cannabis retail market.”
Kideckel thinks that FAF will generate fiscal 2020 revenue and adjusted EBITDA of $107.6 million and negative $13.7 million, respectively, and fiscal 2021 revenue and adjusted EBITDA of $259.8 million and $10.4 million, respectively.
Fire & Flower, which currently has a market cap of about $115 million, is now down 16 per cent year-to-date, while the stock is down 36 per cent over the past 12 months. Last month, the company announced its first quarter fiscal 2020 financials for the three months ended May 2, showing total revenue of $23.1 million, up 142 per cent year-over-year, and an adjusted EBITDA loss of $2.7 million.
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