Edible Arrangements CEO Tariq Farid joins the Yahoo Finance Live panel to discuss the brand's Valentine's Day populatiry and 2021 growth outlook.
AKIKO FUJITA: One company that is seeing a big lift from the holiday is Edible Arrangements. The Atlanta-based firm has undergone a big transformation during this pandemic, resulting in a 45% increase in sales last year. Let's bring in Tariq Farid. He is the Edible Arrangements CEO.
Tariq, it's good to have you back on the show. It feels like when you look at the trajectory of the company over the last year, you have sort of thrown everything at it because of the headwinds you face. You rolled out produce boxes. You added flowers to the mix. You added cookies and baked goods. Where do things stand nearly a year on into this pandemic for your business?
TARIQ FARID: Of course, thank you for having me, Akiko. And it's so nice to kind of pivot from Fed president to some of this fun stuff. All these pivots, one, we had to do them, as with many of the other businesses, and it's actually worked out phenomenal for us.
And as it was mentioned earlier on your show that a lot of the business moved online, and we had a very strong online presence, and that just reinforced our investment in our online presence. And that's where the growth was. And our stores are starting to recover. So overall, things are going great, and we're looking forward to a very strong Valentine's Day.
ZACK GUZMAN: When we talk about this, too-- I mean, it's good to see you again. We were talking before about some exciting product launches. You had mentioned Edibles getting into it at Edible Arrangements, but it seems like CBD's been tricky around the food space. So talk to me about what you've been able to do with new items to excite your customers.
TARIQ FARID: Yeah, so we launched a whole bake line. One of the big advantages of Edible Arrangements is that we have 1,000 locations. We're that last mile, last minute, and gifting has become more and more last minute. And when it becomes fresh, when it's all about fresh, when it's about that last minute and people tend to think of the gift last minute, so between bakeshop and then we launched fruit, flowers, where just adding some chocolate covered strawberries or some great treats with a bouquet of flowers delivered fresh from our local stores, that has been phenomenal.
So most of these pivots that were done that we had planned out for the next three to four years, we did them within the last six to eight months, have just-- that's driven a lot of the growth. And then our traditional products, I mean, nothing like fresh fruit, be it dipped cheesecakes or the dipped fruit products, the core product has done well at the same time. But it's been about delivery, and it's been about the digital channel.
AKIKO FUJITA: But when you talk specifically about what Zack mentioned there, CBD in the edibles business, I mean, what's the strategy to growth here? Is the plan to maybe spin it off as a separate franchise?
TARIQ FARID: Yeah, it's definitely a separate franchise, so that's our incredible Edibles brand. We slowed it down a bit with the whole store front challenges. We've been working in the background and developing the stores. Our first store will be opening up this year. Actually, we've had a store, but our full-fledged store will be opening in Connecticut this year under a separate brand.
Because of the challenges with food, we want to keep it separate. We're in a gifting category, a beloved brand, and I think we want to avoid any confusions. But at the same time, the adoption has been surprising on the adoption of the CBD and that whole category. We see it being voted in everywhere and being adopted. So we'll enter that with a separate brand called Incredible Edibles.
ZACK GUZMAN: And Tariq, I mean, when we talk about gifts in the pandemic, a lot of people raising there might just not be a need to celebrate Valentine's Day. Relative to other years before, how are sales shaping up?
TARIQ FARID: Sales are doing great. A Valentine's Day on a Sunday is always challenging, right. So people will send to offices more than they'll send home, but everybody's been home. So with that, we're seeing very strong lift this year.
And I tend to disagree, Zack. If there's any time to celebrate love or send love, it's this year, right. With all the challenges we've had this year, be it kind of the challenges the whole country has faced and then this pandemic, people are celebrating more, and we've seen that.
And that's the growth that we've seen that this-- people are sending more gifts. People are home. There's so much more to appreciate. There's so much more to be thankful for. And we're seeing that. We're seeing that in the trends and people sending.
ZACK GUZMAN: All right, Tariq Farid, appreciate you coming back on here, the CEO of Edible Arrangements. Happy Valentine's Day to you. Have a great weekend.