DEAR FELLOW SHAREHOLDERS:
Brand X Originals™ and Infinity Sparkling Mountain Spring Water™ are now produced and in the market in Canada. TrueBlue™ Blueberry in 16 oz (473 ml) PET is also on its way to stores. We have made a couple of changes with TrueBlue™ to reflect the comments of our retail customers. First, you will notice a label change (see below) that we believe is more in keeping with a National brand. We have also decided to bottle the 16 oz version in PET as opposed to glass to make it more consumer-friendly in the convenience channel. Our goal with the smaller package size is to drive consumer trial of this great tasting new product.
January plant production has been well above historical levels for this time of the year. We continue to work on improving efficiencies and absolute output. It’s a little early to assess how the Spring bottling season will shape up, but customer forecasts generally look strong.
Our focus in 2005 will be on continuing to expand our customer base in the US, primarily concentrating on TREK®, Pez®, Soy2O™ and TrueBlue™. In Canada, we will be expanding our marketing initiatives to put more support behind our brands. At the same time, we anticipate strong incremental growth for Monster Energy™ and Fiji Water®, two of our Canadian licensed products.
I should add a comment about our share price, which has been below the minimum $1.00 US bid price since early October 2004. Under NASDAQ rules we have until May 9, 2005 to regain compliance. If compliance cannot be demonstrated by then, we are entitled to an additional 180 days if the company meets certain minimum listing requirements. We believe we surpass those requirements. Consequently, we do not anticipate losing our NASDAQ listing under any reasonable scenario.
Thank you for your continued support.
LEADING BRANDS, INC.
Ralph D. McRae
Chairman & CEO
Certain information contained in this press release includes forward-looking statements. Words such as “believe”, “expect,” “will,” or comparable terms, are intended to identify forward-looking statements concerning the Company’s expectations, beliefs, intentions, plans, objectives, future events or performance and other developments. All forward-looking statements included in this press release are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof. Such statements speak only as of the date hereof. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s estimations and projections are disclosed in the Company’s securities filings and include, but are not limited to, the following: general economic conditions, weather conditions, changing beverage consumption trends, pricing, availability of raw materials, economic uncertainties (including currency exchange rates), government regulation, managing and maintaining growth, the effect of adverse publicity, litigation, competition and other risk factors described from time to time in securities reports filed by Leading Brands, Inc.