Toronto-based fast casual Freshii signed a deal to acquire a majority stake in online health-and-wellness retailer Natura Market Ecommerce for $4.6 million U.S. dollars, the chain announced Thursday.
As part of the deal, Freshii has agreed to acquire 60% of Natura Market’s outstanding shares, with rights to purchase the remainder through the first quarter of 2025. The transaction, which is expected to be financed through Freshii’s cash on hand, is projected to close during the chain’s fourth quarter.
The purchase is intended to expand Freshii’s “omnichannel” presence, the chain said. Freshii, which has 384 units in 14 countries, has recently started selling nutritional supplements in its restaurants and via a retail website. Earlier this year, Freshii launched Apple Cider Vinegar Gummies as nutritional supplements, with plans to add other packaged items.
“Bringing in Natura Market marks another significant step in our omnichannel journey and allows Freshii to continue to diversify our offerings and channels in order to meet the needs of today’s health and wellness shoppers,” Matthew Corrin, Freshi’s CEO and founder, said in a statement.
Freshii and Natura Market’s businesses will be run separately. But Freshii said it intends to use Natura’s sales data to help it “identify early-stage food and beverage trends that can be used to inform Freshii’s restaurant and consumer-packaged goods product innovation.”
Natura Market was founded in 2016 and did more than $15.35 million USD in sales over the past 12 months. It has no debt.
The online retailer is valued at $7.75 million USD. It bills itself as a “unique food shopping experience” for consumers with dietary restrictions looking to make “clean eating … easy and effortless.”
Freshii’s sales have struggled during the pandemic, with downtown office workers in many cities continuing to work from home. Same-store sales remained nearly 30% below 2019 numbers for the quarter ended June 28 and it has closed more than 80 restaurants since July 2019.