N.B. cannabis re­tailer lays off staffers

The Beacon Herald - - BUSINESS -

FREDERICTON — New Brunswick’s cannabis re­tailer is lay­ing off staff, say­ing it has a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of “op­er­a­tional needs” three months af­ter the his­toric le­gal­iza­tion of recre­ational mar­i­juana.

Cannabis NB said most of the about 60 lay­offs in­volved peo­ple with sea­sonal con­tracts, but some are part-time or full-time em­ploy­ees.

Spokes­woman Marie-An­dree Bolduc said Thursday that de­spite sup­ply chal­lenges, op­er­a­tions have nor­mal­ized at the 20 stores and they now un­der­stand the needs of each out­let.

“This de­ci­sion is rep­re­sen­ta­tive of nor­mal new re­tail in­dus­try op­er­a­tions and long-term fis­cal re­spon­si­bil­ity,” she said in an email.

She said it’s dif­fi­cult to spec­u­late whether the sup­ply prob­lems that have plagued cannabis re­tail­ers across the coun­try were a fac­tor.

“Sup­ply is­sues may have con­trib­uted, how­ever based on cur­rent traf­fic and in­ter­ac­tion time with cus­tomers we are con­fi­dent that even as sup­ply con­tin­ues to sta­bi­lize and we ex­pand our port­fo­lio, that our cur­rent team has the ca­pac­ity to de­liver the ex­pected cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and ed­u­ca­tion and man­age store op­er­a­tions,” she said.

Un­der the for­mer Lib­eral govern­ment, New Brunswick had seen le­gal­ized cannabis as green gold — a chance to rake in prof­its and cre­ate pro­duc­tion and re­tail jobs, with a com­mu­nity col­lege pro­gram de­vel­oped for cannabis tech­ni­cians.

Bolduc said some of the laid-off staff may be re­hired in the fu­ture.

“In prepar­ing for the launch of the new le­gal cannabis in­dus­try, Cannabis NB wanted to en­sure that a well-trained, qual­i­fied team was built that was large enough to set up the re­tail lo­ca­tions, fill the work sched­ules and de­liver the right cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence and ed­u­ca­tion based on de­mand,” she said.

“The teams and roles were struc­tured to al­low flex­i­bil­ity in the de­liv­ery of the cus­tomer ex­pe­ri­ence needed and man­age ex­pec­ta­tions that staffing of stores may change af­ter launch.”

Bolduc says they’ll be re­leas­ing quar­terly sales fig­ures at the end of Jan­uary.

Mean­while, neigh­bour­ing Nova Sco­tia is not look­ing at any lay­offs as a re­sult of sup­ply short­ages, said pro­vin­cial Fi­nance Min­is­ter Karen Casey.

The prov­ince has only 12 shops run by the Nova Sco­tia Liquor Cor­po­ra­tion, which gets its sup­ply from li­censed pro­duc­ers based in Nova Sco­tia, P.E.I., New Brunswick, On­tario and Al­berta.

The Cana­dian Press

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