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Currently, allow me quickly cover our operating budget. Overall, SG&A decreased by 7% over the comparison duration in 2014. Sales as well as advertising expenditures lowered 25% year on year and also 44% quarter on quarter driven by a pair of factors. Initially, advertising and marketing and also coupon expense declined by over $10 million versus the previous year because of delayed or canceled tasks as an outcome of COVID-19 and as well as raised investing from in 2014 to catch retail room - aluminum sun shade.
investment, however Canada payment expenditures reduced due to head count decreases. And also about Q4, settlement expenses decreased by $4 million following our business restructuring activities as well as the short-lived furlough of corporate retail personnel due to the closure of our corporate shops. G&An expenses boosted by 2% year over year however decreased 18% quarter over quarter due in component to a decrease in expert fees, reduced facility expenses and lower traveling prices.
R&D expenditures lowered by 34% quarter on quarter as we are now reallocating our R&D efforts to focus on jobs that have high commercial return potential with less emphasis on pharmaceutical-driven clinical tests. Stock-based compensation cost in Q1 decreased 63% versus previous year to $28.6 million, partly as a result of the forfeit of choices resulting from team reductions that occurred throughout the quarter.
Next, I wish to go over free money flow. Our cost-free cash money flow in the first quarter of financial '21 was a discharge of $181 million which mores than 50% improvement contrasted to the prior year. Our working capital declined year over year as a result of lower supply degrees. And also notably, we ended the quarter with stock of $389 million, slightly down from the previous quarter.
Capex declined to $62 million, down both on a year-on-year basis and also a quarter-on-quarter basis. As you can see in our quarterly results, we are making progress versus our essential monetary metrics that we presented at our June financier conference. On profitability, we supplied a reduction in SG&A load as a portion of sales, while we are functioning to return to our 40% gross margin target.
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Prior to I close, I would love to use a few key variables to take into consideration on Q2. First, from an internet earnings standpoint, we expect gradual enhancement in our Canadian Rec business as store openings in Ontario must provide ongoing tailwind. Our strategic businesses ought to remain to see strong development from a brand-new item launch and also broadened circulation, while we expect Storz & Bickel to see even more stabilized growth in the 2nd quarter.
Third, while we expect a consecutive pickup in advertising expenses and also trade promo activities as COVID-related limitations are lifted, we anticipate to see added benefit from minimized head count as we finish our organizational review in coming months. So to summarize, we are progressing versus our calculated top priorities, we remain concentrated on enhancing our industrial as well as functional implementation, while keeping our economic discipline - awning over door.
Operator, David as well as I would more than happy to take questions from analysts. [Driver instructions] Your very first question originates from Vivien Azer from Cowen. Please go ahead.-- Cowen as well as Business-- Expert Hi. Thank you. Greetings. I wanted to concentrate on your expectation for pricing. David, you kept in mind some rate adjustments on vapes and afterwards layered on top of that certainly the value launch.
Just attempting to consider kind of order of size, where you believe you're going to see one Bonuses of the most press on the leading line from the price deflation that you talked about? Many thanks. architectural sunshades.-- President Yeah. From a top-line perspective, Viv, I believe that we'll continue to see the value flower group grow.
However once more, I think that's just a healthy and balanced evolution in the marketplace. I additionally just intend to talk about that as well. Like the-- as we remain to function with difficulties, as it connects to gross margins, our objective is to supply that over 40% gross margin, despite having an expanding value sector which means we just have to progress our manufacturing properties to make sure that we can supply successfully where the customer wants to spend - awning frame.
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-- Cowen as well as Company-- Expert Many Thanks. And if you could just talk about the vape rate modifications that you pointed out?-- Ceo Yeah. I believe, Viv, we still have-- the marketplace is so young, it's-- it feels various to me than more well established markets where you see a fad begin and afterwards people have to comply with.
And also we don't think that places a great deal of wikipedia reference stress on our top line since we're simply not all that large in vape, as well as our team believe we have the margins to be a little bit extra aggressive which is why we're mosting likely to be a little bit much more aggressive on 510s.
Thank you. Our Following concern comes from Tamy Chen from BMO Capital Markets. Please go on.-- BMO Funding Markets-- Expert Yes, thanks. Greetings. Many thanks for the question. I intended to discuss the brand-new high THC difficulties that you set on your product high quality for flowers. So when I think regarding your current expand possessions, several are quite large as well as some are quite labor-intensive.
So my question is, I imply exactly how can these facilities I think meet the brand-new high THC difficulties that you've established for blossom consistently at scale, as well as do it at much better margins than you're doing now, specifically if rates stress proceeds to magnify?-- Chief Executive Police Officer Yeah, Tamy. So I assume-- you could correct me if I'm wrong here, but I assume like 88% of our output in the quarter Homepage was high-THC blossom.
We're additionally doing a great deal of job around enhancing that impact. We'll try to find some items for-- to depend maybe a little bit on exterior grow as we move forward. So I believe it's much less concerning what we're qualified of producing and perhaps even less regarding the margins in each center.