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North West Company - Q1-2022 Earnings, Price Target Update

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The North West Company (NWC) is a retailer to rural communities and urban neighborhood markets in Northern Canada, Western Canada, rural Alaska, the South Pacific islands and the Caribbean. Its stores offer a broad range of products and services with an emphasis on food. Operations commenced in 1987 when the Company's predecessor purchased 178 stores comprising the Northern Stores Division of the Hudson's Bay Company. Revenues from food generate approximately 70% of sales with the balance from general merchandise. By region 60% of sales are from Canada and the balance from international operations. The history of The North West Company dates back to 1668, when the Hudson's Bay Company received its Royal Charter and began establishing fur-trading outlets throughout what is now northern Canada. Their vision is to be a leading community retailer within underserved and less developed markets. North West Company Ltd. operates 216 stores (after the sale of 36 Giant Tiger stores in fiscal Q1-2020) across Canada, the United States (mainly in Alaska), in certain United States Territories, and in the Caribbean and South Pacific. Canadian operations are comprised of 166 stores, 2 commercial air services. This includes Northwest Fur Marketing and Northwest Motor Sports. International operations include 55 stores in rural Alaska, South Pacific Islands and the Caribbean. Historically, first quarter sales are the lowest and fourth quarter sales are the highest, reflecting consumer buying patterns. Due to the remote location of many of the stores, weather conditions are often more extreme compared to other retailers and can affect sales in any quarter. Products offered include a broad assortment of food, general merchandise and other everyday products and services such as gasoline, cheque cashing and money transfers. Operations include the complementary businesses of food wholesale, fur and Inuit art marketing. Despite the remoteness of its markets, there is significant competition from stores operated by local village corporations, independent store owners and co-operatives, some of which are associated with regional or national buying groups. These independent merchants maintain market share due to strong local loyalties and established customer relationships. All of the communities in which they have stores have access to mail order catalogue, direct mail and internet services such as those provided by Sears Canada, Wal-Mart and Costco. In the larger communities and in foreign locations, the stores of the Fund compete directly with other national, international or regional retailers such as True Value, Fields, I.G.A./Sobeys, Wal-Mart, Kmart, Price Smart and Costco.

Acquisitions & Dispositions

Jun-2017: acquired North Star Air Ltd., a Thunder Bay based airline, providing cargo and passenger services within northwestern Ontario. The acquisition was completed to gain efficiencies in its logistics network and enable faster, more consistent delivery of merchandise to its stores in northern Canada.

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