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Darwinism Meets Cannabis Retail

Canadian cannabis retail is getting crowded in some parts of the country, and experts are predicting that independents will suffer the most. 

“It’s very Darwinian, the survival of the fittest,” Kyle Murray, the vice dean at the University of Alberta School of Business, told CTV in Edmonton. “But you’ll always see a handful of successful independents who are doing a good job with their own business.”

Ontario vs. Alberta

Murray predicts more consolidation among Alberta’s 599 existing retailers, and some will shutter before the market stabilizes to somewhere between 400 and 600 shops in the foreseeable future.

Ontario on the other hand has more than three times the population, and just exceeded the number of open cannabis stores at 613, reports Marijuana Business Daily. 

“We still don’t have enough stores in Ontario,” Michael Armstrong, an associate professor of business at Brock University in St. Catherine’s, told MJ Biz. “Nobody really knows what the ‘best,’ quote-unquote, number is.”

The magic number

Some areas like Kensington Market in Toronto and London, Ont. are reporting that weed retail has ”exploded” with some local councillors and organizers expressing concern about the density of weed stores. 

We could see corrections in dense areas, but we can’t ignore that storefronts are doing work that e-commerce can’t: The latest OCS sales report showed 88% of sales came through storefronts — and that’s in a pandemic.

We’ll talk with Darren Karasiuk of NOVA Cannabis and Value Buds today at 10 am today. Join us.

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