BY ALEX GREGORY
Aeris Brands, which owns Second Cup Limited and undertook a new operating strategy late last year, announced this week that its planned first-quarter results for 2020 have been postponed amid the ongoing global pandemic, as it relies on blanket relief provided by Canada’s top security administrator.
The coffee chain, which revamped its organizational structure and brand strategy last year in a major corporate shakeup, said Tuesday that it would take a 45-day extension offered by the Canadian Securities Administrators to file its first-quarter interim report, and expects the resulting report to be completed by mid-June.
“The company expects the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and events and circumstances resulting from that pandemic to have a material impact on its business, operations and financial performance for at least the first half of 2020,” Aegis said in a statement Monday. “However, this impact cannot be quantified at this time because of the significant uncertainty associated with the ultimate extent, duration and severity of the pandemic itself, and with the government restrictions, effects on consumer behaviour and other factors associated with or resulting from that pandemic, many of which are beyond the Company’s control.”
Accrued royalties and advertising fund contributions for February – April will not be collected from franchisees, Aegis also indicated, noting that it was also considering deferring collection of royalties and contributions through May 16. An Aegis spokesperson said that the company is continuing to actively monitor all aspects of its business and operations, and is working closely with its franchisees and other business partners during the pandemic. Aegis, which still trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange as Second Cup Limited, and operates its head office in north Mississauga, made waves in November when it sought to re-brand, with the Second Cup trademark becoming one of several brands owned and operated by the company. The company also launched a new acquisition strategy earlier this year, picking up Ottawa based Bridgehead Coffee, which has nineteen coffee houses, in a $9.5 million deal to boost Aegis’ profile. Aegis had also planned to finalize the change of name during its annual general meeting, which was intended to be held this month. As of mid- May, the company was continuing to offer takeout, delivery and drive-thru service only at its Second Cup locations.
Currently, 130 of the company’s 244 Second Cup locations and all 19 Bridgehead coffeehouses have temporarily suspended operations in response to the pandemic, with an additional four locations closed as they convert to cannabis retail stores. A further four locations have closed permanently, according to the company