LAVAL, Quebec — Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. (ACT) is expanding its cannabis strategic partnership with Fire & Flower Holdings Corp.
In the companies' latest move, Fire & Flower subsidiary Hifyre Inc. entered into licensing agreements with a wholly-owned subsidiary of Couche-Tard, bringing the Hifyre cannabis technology platform and the Spark Perks member program to four additional co-located stores in the cities of Guelph, Hamilton, Brampton and Oshawa, Ontario.
The new co-located stores are expected to open within the coming weeks at:
- 10010 McLaughlin Road in Brampton
- 138 College Ave. W. in Guelph
- 1311 Harmony Road N. in Oshawa
- 648 King St. W. in Hamilton
With the execution of these licensing agreements, there will be seven Circle K co-located cannabis stores operating either under Fire & Flower corporate or technology licensing business models in the provinces of Alberta and Ontario.
Fire & Flower continues to pursue additional opportunities to expand its Circle K co-located store program, according to the company.
"Couche-Tard continues to see promise in the cannabis market and is committed to learning more about the space as it evolves both in Canada and beyond," said Alex Miller, Couche-Tard's executive vice president of operations, North America. "With now five co-located cannabis stores next to high-traffic Circle K stores in the greater Toronto area, we see it as a natural extension of our expertise to pair our convenient shopping experience and differentiating store footprint with the growing customer demand for cannabis products."
Additionally, Fire & Flower entered into an asset purchase agreement to acquire two cannabis retail store locations in Kingston, Ontario, from a wholly-owned subsidiary of Couche-Tard.
The sites, located at 500 Gardiners Road and 1100 Princess St., are expected to open as Fire & Flower-owned, -operated and -branded stores during the fourth quarter of 2022.
The acquisition is subject to closing conditions set forth in the purchase agreement, including but not limited to, the receipt of regulatory approval from the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.
Couche-Tard holds greater than 10 percent of the outstanding voting securities of Fire & Flower.
"We continue to demonstrate major progress on the expansion of our strategic relationship with Couche-Tard through the licensing of Hifyre's proprietary platform and Spark Perks member program at four additional co-located cannabis stores and the proposed acquisition of two cannabis stores," said Stéphane Trudel, CEO of Fire & Flower. "Additionally, Couche-Tard has recently committed its financial support through the previously announced $11 million loan and $5 million private placement, subject to the receipt of shareholder approval. Having access to Circle K's valued real estate through these co-located stores demonstrates the differentiating value of the strategic relationship with our partner, Alimentation Couche-Tard."
The executive continued, "We continue to enhance a fast and convenient cannabis shopping experience with the Hifyre technology platform and recently began the delivery of other complimentary products, including snack foods, through the Firebird Delivery platform."
Alimentation Couche-Tard, parent company of Circle K, entered into a venture with Fire & Flower in 2019. As part of the partnership, ACT provides Fire & Flower with additional capital to further accelerate its expansion strategy.
Toronto-based Fire & Flower is a cannabis consumer retail and technology platform with more than 90 corporate-owned stores in its network. Through the strategic investment of ACT, the company has set its sights on global expansion as new cannabis markets emerge. It is poised to expand into the United States when permitted through its strategic licensing agreement with Fire & Flower U.S. Holdings upon the occurrence of certain changes to the cannabis regulatory regime.
Headquartered in Laval, Alimentation Couche-Tard operates in 26 countries and territories, with more than 14,100 stores, of which approximately 10,800 offer road transportation fuel. It is one of the largest independent convenience store operators in the United States, as well as in Canada, Scandinavia, the Baltics and Ireland.