Charlotte's Web Sales Continue To Fall

Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. (TSX: CWEB) (OTCQX: CWBHF) reported financial results for the first quarter ending March 31, 2022 as net revenue fell 17% to $19.4 million versus $23.4 million for the same time period in 2021. Sales also fell sequentially from the fourth quarter’s revenues of $24.8 million and greatly missed the estimates from Yahoo Finance for sales of $27 million. Charlotte’s Web said the decrease was partly due to a temporary closure of its production and shipping terminal in January after a local wildfire in Boulder County.

The net losses were trimmed to $8 million from last year’s net loss of $12 million. The company has also been trying to right-size itself as revenues continue to fall. Total selling, general and administrative of $20.4 million was reduced by 14.4% year-over-year. “The $3.4 reduction versus Q1-2021 was primarily the result of actions taken in late 2021 and early 2022 to bring expenses in line with current revenue levels to support a return to positive cash flow.”

“While our e-commerce traffic was lower compared to prior periods, subscriptions more than doubled since Q1-2021. With e-commerce revenue down $3.0 million year-over-year, rebuilding traffic and conversions remain key priorities for us in e-commerce, which is our largest revenue channel,” said Jacques Tortoroli, Chief Executive Officer. “In our retail business, shipping was disrupted in January due to a two-week closure after a local wildfire in Boulder County. Despite the slow start, the overall business improved through the quarter with March being the largest revenue month of the quarter. The quarter did not benefit from our new retail sales organization which was put in place in April.”

Revenue Breakdown

Charlotte’s Web said the direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) eCommerce revenue was $13.1 million, a decrease of $3.0 million or 18.5% year-over-year. The decrease was attributed to lower traffic to the online store, wildfire shipping delays, and an industry-wide consumer shift to lower-priced CBD products; primarily gummies and topical products, where Charlotte’s Web is the market share leader. New DTC subscriptions increased 107% year-over-year and eCommerce conversion rates were strong at 14.2%. Charlotte’s Web maintains the largest e-commerce business in the CBD industry. DTC sales contributed 67.9% of the Company’s total net revenue in Q1-2022.

Business-to-business (“B2B”) revenue was $6.2 million$1.1 million or 14.6% lower year-over-year with reduced shipments to some of the Company’s largest retail customers after the warehouse closure and some supply chain challenges on top-selling CBD Clinic SKUs. This was partially offset by new retail distribution in grocery, natural, and pet retail, following the passing of Assembly Bill 45 in California.

“Our December/January reorganization reduced complexity and reduced SG&A expenses by more than $20.0 million on an annualized basis,” said Lindsey Jensen, Chief Financial Offer. “This resulted in improved gross margin percentage, lower operating expenses, and improved EBITDA(1) for Q1-2022 compared to the same quarter of 2021. We used $4.7 million in operating cash in the quarter with the majority of this occurring in January. In the quarter we received $0.5 million against our $10.8 million IRS receivable that we started the year with, and an additional $2.7 million has been collected since March 31 through the date of this press release. We continue to steward the use of cash while furthering our product rationalization to lower complexity and costs across our operations.”

International Update

Progress continued in key international markets. In the U.K., the Company achieved a milestone becoming one of the first companies to receive validation of its Novel Food applications from the UK Food Standards Agency (“FSA”) for full-spectrum hemp extracts in the United Kingdom. The milestone adds Charlotte’s Web to the FSA’s list of products allowed to be sold in the UK. The Company’s Novel Foods applications for the European Union were also validated during the quarter and are now proceeding through the safety evaluation process. In Canada, the Company is in discussions for extraction and distribution to bring to market Charlotte’s Web’s first international hemp harvest, which is anticipated for later this year. In Israel, the Company believes the regulatory environment for CBD sales in retail outlets continues to move forward. Charlotte’s Web expects to begin filing product registrations in the coming months through its Israeli partner, Intercure, with the Company’s first bulk product shipment anticipated in the second half of the year.

Debra Borchardt

Debra Borchardt is the Co-Founder, and Executive Editor 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 Master's degree in Business Journalism from New York University.


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