4/20 deals ho-hum sales for pot shops


While April 20, celebrated as the unofficial marijuana holiday 4/20, saw the highest single-day sales this year for Colorado retail cannabis shops, sales were well below what retailers have become accustomed to in recent years.

The sales spike in Colorado this 4/20 was 62% higher than the daily average, according to data from Boulder-based BDS Analytics Inc. That spike was 148% in 2019 and 170% in 2018.

For the extended weekend period from April 17 through April 20, sales were only 27% higher than average, down from 49% higher the prior year.

In other states, 4/20 sales were even slower as compared not only to prior April 20s, but compared to days in March 2020.

“It did not match up, unfortunately, to the spike we saw March 13 to March 16,” BDS CEO Roy Bingham said of 4/20 sales at California’s dispensaries.

Daily sales nationwide on April 20 were 46% higher than the daily average, according to BDS data. On March 13, they were 69% higher.

Those sales totals were “not what some people had hoped for, but under the circumstances, maybe not too bad,” Bingham said.

Sales, in part, were impacted this year by a severe case of the Mondays.

April 20 fell on Monday this year “and Monday is always the lowest sales day in the industry,” Bingham said. The unofficial holiday fell on a Friday and a Saturday, the industry’s two busiest days, in 2018 and 2019.

Some question whether 4/20 is ever really worth the hype for pot companies.

“April has never been a strong month in Colorado for cannabis brands overall. There is a huge run-up in sales in the weeks preceding 4/20, but typically stores overbuy and then pull back for the next few weeks,” Wana Brands CEO Nancy Whiteman said in a statement. “The whole event profits net out to either normal or lower sales revenue compared to other months. Couple that with the expectation of aggressive promotions, and 4/20 has never been that beneficial for brands.”

Colorado dispensaries had their busiest non-4/20 day March 23 when Denver briefly flirted with the idea of closing certain types of businesses, which led to a rush on pot shops and liquor stores.

Since then, data indicates stay-at-home orders may have slowed sales for dispensaries in much the same way as other types of retailers.

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