Revenues for Organic Garage’s four GTA-area stores increased 2.3% to $24.1 million in fiscal 2020, with CEO Matt Lurie saying increased demand seen during the global pandemic will continue to drive growth in the months ahead.
Non-cash charges, most significantly goodwill impairment of $2.2 million, led to a loss of $5.1 million for the year. Non-cash charges accounted for about 85% of the year-end loss, said the company.
While acknowledging that fiscal 2020 “presented certain challenges,” Lurie said an increased focus on cost containment beginning in the third quarter has proved “impactful” to the company’s short-term finances and will be beneficial to its long-term results.
Lurie said the company experienced “significant increased demand” for in-store and online sales during the global pandemic. “The entire company did an excellent job during those difficult times in managing increased in-store and online sales, and I believe that positive impact will be reflected in future quarterly financial results,” said Lurie.
Organic Garage said it had experienced “unprecedented consumer demand” as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, and while its supply chain was robust, it did acknowledge some “replenishment delays” in higher-demand categories.
The company also implemented several procedures in response to the pandemic, including a “curbside pickup” option at its Oakville and Thornhill stores; enhanced safety and sanitization protocols such as Plexiglass dividers and floor markings; increases in hourly wage rates; a senior shopping hour and the suspension of services including self-serve bulk offerings, the salad bar and in-store demos.
Highlights from the past year include the beginning of construction on the company’s fifth store, a 12,000 square-foot location in Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood; the expansion of its private label brand Kitchen Originals, as well as its “Hand-Picked Partner Program,” the latter of which enables selected vendors to sell unique, ready-made foods through “small footprint” kiosks inside its stores.
In January, Organic Garage also entered into an agreement with the online grocery app Cornershop to offer online ordering and delivery from its locations, becoming the Uber affiliate’s second Canadian partner after Walmart. The program offers what the company described as a “significantly reduced” service fee, as well as a $99 annual subscription for free delivery on every order over $40, and other discounts.
The company also appointed Michael Lovsin to its board of directors. Lovsin is a 35-year retail veteran who oversaw the reinvention of brand strategy for Australia’s second largest supermarket chain, Coles Supermarkets.