May 27, 2019

U.S. markets were closed on Monday while Toronto was up 0.7%.

Boston Pizza International announced that it has a new CFO effective immediately. That sounded a bit scary depending on why the incumbent was gone. But it turns out that the incumbent was only doing the job on an acting and interim basis until a permanent CFO was found. So, it appears that the announcement of a new CFO is no cause for concern.

A company that I used to have on our list was in the news today. Alcanna, formerly Liquor Stores N.A. (owner of Liquor Depot and Liquor barn with a large number of liquor stores in Alberta) is buying 28 Solo Liquor stores. That surprised me because I am very (perhaps all too) familiar with Solo Liquor stores and I had thought that they were doing well and they were certainly busier than most Liquor Depot stores in my experience. It turns out Solo had 90 stores (far more than I would have guessed) and that they are in receivership. This goes to show what I had already concluded: Liquor retailing in Alberta is a very tough business. There are far too many stores and competition is mostly on price. There are limited scale economies becasue the provincial wholesaler sells to everyone at the same price – no volume discounts. It is very difficult to compete with the likes of Superstore and Costco liquor stores. This move will likely be good for Alcanna especially if many of the remaining Solo stores not purchased are to be closed (which was not clear). Alcanna also operates six cannabis stores. I have not been a fan of Alcanna due to a string of losses the last time I looked and its previously (and since ousted) poor management. But I have not looked at it lately.

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