Charlotte's Web Lowers Guidance As Expenses Skyrocket

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. (TSX: CWEB)(OTCQX: CWBHF)  reported that its revenue rose 41.8% to $25.1 million in the third quarter that ended September 30, 2019, versus $17.7 million for the same period in 2018. Still, the company delivered a net loss of $1.3 million versus last year’s net income of $1.8 million.

Rising Expenses

The operating expenses soared to $19.6 million over last year’s $9.8 million for the same time period. The company said in a statement that its “third-quarter operating expenses were $4.7 million”, but that isn’t the number that appeared in the financial table. The company did say that the rising expenses were “to support the Company’s growth and transition to a consumer-packaged goods operating company.

During the quarter Charlotte’s Web moved into larger office facilities in Boulder and added senior CPG management to the leadership team along with related personnel.  “Employee headcount was 307 on September 30, 2019, a 35.8% increase from 226 at September 30, 2018.”

“In an increasingly crowded, noisy and confusing CBD market, brands matter, and Charlotte’s Web is the most trusted hemp extract in the world,” said Deanie Elsner, Chief Executive Officer of Charlotte’s Web. “Consumer education is increasing and a 68% year-over-year increase in traffic through our online store drove Q3 B2C sales to new highs. As the CBD category’s flagship brand, we saw a similar 66% increase in sales pull into our B2B segment which includes the food/drug/mass (“FDM”) and natural health retail channels. This helped drive Q3 growth to 42% year-over-year.”

The revenue breakdown was as follows: Human consumables, topicals, and pet products grew by 43.6%, 156.7%, and 57.5%, respectively. On a year-over-year basis for the quarter ended September 30, 2019, B2C sales grew by 38.7% and accounted for 51.2% of total revenue in the quarter as online traffic increased 68% through expanded marketing and social media programs. B2B sales grew by 66.4% year-over-year and accounted for 48.8% of total revenue in the quarter as mass retailers including Kroger Co., Vitamin Shoppe and CVS Pharmacy locations entered the market in 2019.

Pets Performing

The company said that early sales traction for the new 12 SKU pet line from Charlotte’s Web has been encouraging with a 57% year-over-year increase in revenue with notable success in the independent retail channel.

Lowering Guidance

Ms. Elsner updated the Company’s revenue guidance: “We’re pleased with our growth of 42% for Q3 and 49.6% year-to-date. We expect full-year revenue for 2019 to be in the range of $95 to $100 million and to maintain growth rates for 2020 in the 40% to 50% range or until clear regulations are set.” In the last quarterly report, Rich Mohr, Chief Financial Officer said, “Our previously communicated revenue guidance for 2019 of between $120 million and $170 million remains in place.”

Elsner added, “We are prudently investing in the expansion of our production and distribution capacities as planned, ahead of anticipated FDA regulatory clarity that could enable wider adoption of our product portfolio. We remain hopeful that broad political support will help drive quick regulatory resolutions in 2020.”

Debra Borchardt

Debra BorchardtDebra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the CEO, Co-Founder, and Editor-In-Chief of GMR. She has covered the cannabis industry for several years at Forbes, Seeking Alpha and TheStreet. Prior to becoming a financial journalist, Debra was a Vice President at Bear Stearns where she held a Series 7 and Registered Investment Advisor license. Debra has a Masters degree in Business Journalism from New York University.


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