The Canadian coffee chain, owned by Toronto-based Aegis Brands, achieved 30% wholesale channel growth last year, which helped offset lower e-commerce revenues following the easing of Covid restrictions
A Bridgehead coffee shop in Ottawa, Canada | Photo credit: Matti Blume CC BY-SA 4.0
Canada’s Bridgehead Coffee has reported steady sales growth for the 12 months ended 31 December 2022, led by its strong performing wholesale channel.
Aegis Brands, which acquired Bridgehead Coffee for CA$9.5m ($7m) in January 2020, said system-wide sales for the 21-strong coffee chain increased 21% last year, led by 30% year-on-year growth in its wholesale channel.
Bridgehead Coffee currently sells its branded whole bean coffee and coffee pods across Canadian grocery and supermarket chains Costco Wholesale, Whole Foods Market, Farm Boy, Longo’s and Sobeys.
Aegis Brands also reported ‘improving’ sales from Bridgehead Coffee’s café network, with revenues driven by returning office-worker footfall across its downtown Ottawa stores.
The coffee chain’s Carleton University outlet was cited as its best performing store last year following the return of students to the campus in September 2022.
Aegis Brands, which sold Canadian coffee chain Second Cup Coffee for CA$14m ($10m) in April 2021, said it was exploring opportunities within the foodservice and hospitality industries in a bid to get Bridgehead’s coffee ‘into the hands of new customers’
The Toronto-based food and beverage retailer said e-commerce demand ‘naturally subsided’ in 2022, with sales in the channel falling 28% following the lifting of in-store trading restrictions across Canada at the start of last year and the expansion of its wholesale business.
“We realise and are realistic about the new landscape of the coffeehouses in Ottawa, however we believe the return to office work is not yet complete. Additionally, we are looking to replicate the success of our Carleton location by developing more non-traditional sites. The Bridgehead brand is strong, the coffee quality is second-to-none and the goal of buying organic and fairly traded coffee provides the opportunity to expose more and more Canadians to the Bridgehead experience,” said Kate Burnett, President, Bridgehead Coffee.
In a press release, Aegis Brands said it had executed the ‘first step of its post-pandemic plan’ by acquiring St. Louis Bar and Grill in November 2022. Following the sale of Second Cup Coffee and cannabis retailer Hemisphere in 2021, St. Louis Bar and Grill is Aegis Brands’ only other listed company.
“With the recent St. Louis acquisition, the company is poised to realise significant organic growth within our brands while continuing to look for accretive acquisitions that can grow and benefit from being under the Aegis umbrella,” said Steven Pelton, President and CEO of Aegis.