TORONTO — Independent Canadian cannabis retailer Fire & Flower is expanding its exposure in a slim and subtle way. It announced Jan. 25 that its gift cards will now be available in more third-party retail locations including close to 300 Circle K Stores in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.
Circle K’s parent, Laval, Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc., in 2019 made a strategic investment in Fire & Flower Holdings Corp., investing about $26 million to obtain a 9.9% ownership interest in Fire & Flower. And in July 2020, Couche-Tard opened two Fire & Flower cannabis shops next to Circle K convenience stores in Grand Prairie and Calgary, Alberta.
“Fire & Flower gift cards reflect our continued investment in our relationship with our consumers,” said Trevor Fencott, Fire & Flower’s CEO. “Each gift card represents a sincere moment of connection between our customers and someone who is close to them. Our commitment to digitally enabled and convenient retail experiences is an important part of our strategy as a tech-enabled, differentiated brand retailer.”
Fire & Flower makes this move as the gift card market continues growing in Canada, recording a compound annual growth rate of 29.7% during 2015-2019 and forecast to continue growing to 18.2% during 2020-2024, according to a recent Research and Markets report. The report estimates that the e-gift card market in Canada will reach $3.2 billion (U.S.) by 2024.
Fire & Flower gift cards are available in denominations from $25 to $100.
In related news, with the extension of lockdown orders in Ontario, Fire & Flower has mobilized its network of stores to expand its free same-day delivery across Ontario with a delivery radius from North Bay south to Toronto and from London east to Ottawa. Recent acquisitions and openings in the province, including the Friendly Stranger, Happy Dayz, and HotBox retail brands, have bolstered Fire & Flower’s Ontario footprint, helping the company expand its reach providing legal cannabis to customers through e-commerce, curbside and delivery services during the pandemic.
- Couche-Tard is No. 2 on CSP's2020 Top 202 ranking of U.S. c-store chains by number of retail outlets.
Couche-Tard's network includes more than 9,200 c-stores in North America, with more than 7,100 in the United States under the Circle K and Holiday Stationstores banners and approximately 2,100 in Canada under the Circle K, Mac's and Couche-Tard banners. In Europe, under the Circle K and other banners, Couche-Tard operates a retail network in Scandinavia, Ireland, Poland, the Baltics and Russia including more than 2,700 stores and unmanned automated fuel stations. And under licensing agreements, more than 2,200 stores operate under the Circle K banner in 15 other countries and territories (Cambodia, Egypt, Guam, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Jamaica, Macau, Mexico, Mongolia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam), which brings Couche-Tard’s worldwide total network of approximately 14,200 mostly Circle K-branded c-stores.