Board Chair Message
At the NSLC, we’ve gone from being a place to buy beverage alcohol to a place where our customers enjoy an exceptional shopping experience. This transformation was made possible by the strength and experience of our employees and leaders, by investing in innovative technology that allows us to work smarter and more efficiently and by good Board governance.
The talent and experience of the teams we have in place across the organization coupled with the vision of our Board support our success in being a responsive and responsible retailer. I believe strong and effective governance leads to better business decisions and that effective Board oversight is vital to our success.
Members of the NSLC’s Board of Directors are maintaining their commitment to best governance practices by continuing to upgrade their skills through such initiatives as membership in the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors and Governance Professionals of Canada and by conducting an annual review of our committees and Board Charter. I am pleased to report this commitment to best governance practices resulted in our movement to Third Party Compliance Reporting. Ethical behaviour is a critical component of the NSLC’s Code of Business Conduct and corporate values. We want to ensure we operate transparently and continuously make improvements to the business.
We had a very successful year, delivering a strong dividend of $239.2 million to our shareholder, the Province of Nova Scotia. One hundred per cent of the NSLC’s profits are returned to our Shareholder to fund key public services. I’m proud to see our efforts to cultivate the growth of local products are working as evidenced by across the board market sales growth in all Nova Scotia product categories. We are deeply committed to continuing and building upon our support of the local breweries, distilleries, cider makers and farm wineries invested in communities across Nova Scotia.
Several factors contributed to our success last year. We continued to diligently control expenses, made technology improvements that drove efficiencies and cost savings and offered our customers value in all product categories. I am pleased to report that these efforts resulted in a $4.3 million increase in sales and the average dollar value of each transaction grew by 0.7 per cent, putting us more than $5 million ahead of our net income target for the year.
Ours is a business that touches upon the lives of most Nova Scotians - directly through our product offerings and indirectly through the investments we make in communities and organizations. We are accountable to our customers and our Shareholder so it’s important that Corporate Social Responsibility is integral to the way we run our business. It’s ingrained in everything we do.
I am pleased by our efforts over the past year with The Port by NSLC in Halifax and our NSLC Express stores ensuring our stores reflect what our customers want in the varied markets that we serve. I am happy to report we are continuing to move forward, investing up to $6 million in refreshing more than 30 of our small stores across the province in the next three years.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank our more than 1400 employees who work so diligently to serve our customers. They are working to exceed our customers’ expectations, committed to ensuring each trip through the doors of our stores exceeds their expectations.