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The SAQ announces net income of $1.219 billion for fiscal 2020-2021

Montreal, June 9, 2021 – The SAQ ended its 2020-2021 fiscal year on March 27, 2021, with net income of $1.219 billion, down $6.4 million or 0.5% from the preceding fiscal year. Dollar sales rose 2.9% to $3.590 billion, while litre sales reached 222.3 million litres, a 2.2% increase.

A $1.219 billion dividend paid to the Quebec government
For the ninth year running, the SAQ will pay a dividend of more than $1 billion to the benefit of all Quebecers. In fiscal 2020-2021, government revenue increase $33.3 million or 1.4% to $2.406 billion, including $1.929 billion and $477.4 million remitted to the Quebec treasury and the federal government respectively.

Net income

$1.219 billion


$3.590 billion

Gross margin

$1.804 billion

Ratio of net expenses to sales



A year marked by the pandemic
The activities of the 2020-2021 fiscal year were affected by the pandemic. The various restrictive measures and the suspension of certain business activities had a negative impact on many SAQ partners. Despite the pandemic-related constraints, the SAQ adapted its operations while making sure the health and safety of its customers and employees were protected.

Store and specialized centre (permit holders, agencies and other customers) network

  • Dollar sales in the network totalled $3.198 billion, a $60.7 million or 1.9% increase.
  • Volume sales rose 0.3% to 175.1 million litres, compared with 174.6 million litres for the preceding fiscal year.
  • The impact of the pandemic, in particular the decline in restaurant and bar business, led to a shift in sales from permit holders to the store and agency store network. This, combined with other fallout from the pandemic, including the restrictions imposed on travel outside Quebec, helped boost consumer sales by $361.1 million, largely accounting for the $321.9 million drop in permit holder sales.
  • The average sales price per litre was $20.32, versus $19.68 in fiscal 2019-2020.
  • Online sales rose 130.7% to $96.9 million or 3.3% of overall consumer sales.
  • The average shopping cart went from $51.40 to $76.05, as customers decided to stock up at home and limit their outings. Consequently, the number of store transactions fell 23.8% last year.

Wholesale grocer network

  • Dollar sales in this network rose $40.8 million or 11.6% to $392.3 million.
  • Volume sales were up 4.3 million litres or 10% to 47.2 million litres.
  • This increase stems mainly from higher traffic in the retail food sector caused by the full and partial shutdowns of restaurants and bars.

Net expenses

  • Net expenses totalled $584.7 million, compared with $536.5 million for the preceding fiscal year, a $48.2 million or 9% increase.
  • Pandemic-related costs amounted to $39.6 million, which included the cost of replacing absent employees, additional spending to ensure the health and safety of employees and customers and a reduction in business revenue.
  • Expressed as a percentage of sales, net expenses were 16.3%, compared with 15.4% for fiscal 2019-2020. The difference is attributable mainly to the pandemic-related increase in net expenses.

Notable developments

Changes in shopping behaviour
The pandemic had an impact on consumers’ behaviour. Customers spread out their shopping more than usual and visited our stores less often, especially during the holiday period. The busiest day of the year was December 23, with some 304,910 transactions, 42.1% less than on the best day last year.

Quebec products: ever more popular
Encouraged to buy local to support a Quebec economy hit hard by the pandemic, many customers enthusiastically discovered the products and talent of local producers. Quebec wines, spirits and ciders saw a 26.6% increase in litre sales last year.

The SAQ makes its financial results accessible to all Quebecers in its Annual Report 2021.


About the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ)
Created in 1921, the SAQ imports, distributes and sells a broad range of wines, beers and spirits. Its sales network comprises 409 stores and 426 agency stores located throughout Quebec as well as a transactional website, SAQ.COM. Driven by the passion and know-how of its 7,000 employees, the SAQ offers Quebecers a world of discovery, with near 44,000 products from 3,700 suppliers in 82 countries. In fiscal 2020-2021, the SAQ supported some 300 organizations and events and paid a dividend of $1.219 billion to the Quebec government, while also ensuring its business activities respected local communities and the environment.

For more information, visit SAQ.COM, follow us on Twitter (@LaSAQ_officiel) or view our Facebook and LinkedIn pages.