Charlotte's Web Holdings (OTC:CWBHF) helped pioneer the thinking that cannabidiol, a key chemical component of marijuana and hemp, offers health benefits. Its CBD oil captured global attention earlier this decade for its anecdotal ability to reduce seizures in children with tough-to-treat epilepsy.
Since then, CBD products have become the hottest thing in wellness, with oils, edibles, and even beverages winning use for a variety of indications, including anxiety, insomnia, and pain. The growing interest in CBD products has Main Street retailers increasingly stocking them on their shelves, and that's boosting sales for Charlotte's Web. This week, it reported its fiscal first-quarter results. Here are five facts you ought to know about its business and outlook.
1. Revenue is rising rapidly
The company's revenue jumped over 66% year over year last quarter to $21.7 million. The increase was largely a result of CBD products becoming more widely available in large retail chains. Its products are now stocked in over 6,000 retail stores, up from 3,680 exiting Q4 2018, which in turn was up 80% from Q4 2017.
2. E-commerce remains important
The spike in sales to retailers has that channel accounting for a larger proportion of sales than in the past. However, internet CBD sales are still chugging along. E-commerce revenue accounted for 49% of total sales in the first quarter, down from 57% in Q4.
3. New categories are growing fastest
Sales of human nutrition products increased 67% year over year in the quarter. That's good, but faster growth came from topical products and canine products. Topical product sales improved a whopping 455% year over year thanks to new product launches, while canine sales increased 79% year over year. The expansion of its pet products is particularly intriguing. It has introduced 12 stock keeping units (SKUs) to target what Brightfield estimates will become a $1.16 billion market for CBD pet products by 2022.
4. Marketing spending is up, but profits continue
The company has bumped up its marketing spend to make the most of growing interest in CBD products, but the increase has only slightly dented profitability so far.
Last quarter, it spent 21% of revenue on sales and marketing, up from 15.8% in the same quarter the year prior. General and administrative costs also increased to 39% of revenue from 31% a year ago.
Nevertheless, the company's gross profit margin was a solid 73% of sales and its net income was $2.3 million in the quarter, or $0.03 per share. In the same quarter one year ago, it earned $0.04 per share.
5. There's more growth to come
The company is only in the early innings of winning shelf space in national retailers. It shipped to stores owned by three national retailers, and subsequent to quarter's end, it began shipping to stores operated by a fourth. So far, though, these stores are taking a cautious approach. Only one of the four national chains is stocking all its product categories; the others are only stocking topicals. The company expects these chains will offer products in more stores as the year progresses. Furthermore, management expects new chains will begin offering products this year, particularly if regulators give their blessing to edibles and beverages.
Supplying increased demand from these and other retailers is going to require a lot more hemp production, but it appears Charlotte's Web planned ahead. Last year's hemp harvest skyrocketed to 675,000 pounds from 63,000 pounds in 2017. And in 2019, the company expects to plant 700 acres, up from 300 acres in 2018.