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Canada Marijuana Sales Slump in April After Coronavirus Stockpiling

By Eric Volkman – Jun 20, 2020 at 10:15AM

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Yet they held up relatively well compared to other categories in the economy.

Canadians seem to be easing off marijuana a bit, at least as far as the latest sales figures reveal. On Friday, Statistics Canada released its national retail sales data for April, revealing that purchases from licensed marijuana stores fell slightly (by 1%) on a month-over-month basis to land at around 180 million Canadian dollars ($132 million).

That reversed the previous month's trend, in which sales rose by nearly 20%. This can largely be attributed to stockpiling behavior stemming from the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus outbreak that necessitated "stay in place" measures.

Marijuana bud with Canadian flag in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

Though April's sales figure represents a decline, marijuana as a category actually held up relatively well. Overall, Canadian retail sales suffered a significant decline, falling by almost 25% month over month to C$33.3 billion ($24.5 billion). Nearly every retail category saw drops, including several (such as food and beverage stores) that, like cannabis, rose sharply in March.

Much of this reversal can be attributed to business closures, which came into force only partially in March, then mostly lasted throughout April. Cannabis dispensaries were an exception, however, as in most Canadian geographies they were considered "essential" businesses and allowed to operate (albeit with restrictions).

Still, the very modest decline relative to overall retail sales will be particularly encouraging for investors in the top Canadian cannabis producers and sellers like Canopy Growth (CGC 4.38%) and Aurora Cannabis (ACB 4.31%).

Both could use some good news; Canopy Growth's most recently reported quarter revealed a heavy net loss, while Aurora is facing potentially huge goodwill writedowns, among other struggles.

On Friday, shares of both companies rose (Canopy Growth by 0.9%, Aurora by 2.8%) while the broader stock market slipped on the day.

Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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