The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) today announced a moderate adjustment to its markup, excluding wines that retail for $15 or under, which account for 41% of the bottles it sells. In 2017, the SAQ adjusted its markup to the benefit of its customers. Today’s adjustment allows the company to maintain the necessary balance between customers’ expectations and its business and financial objectives. 

“Since 2017, the year we adjusted our markup downward, the context in which the company operates has changed,” said Jacques Farcy, the SAQ’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “This can be seen in our financial results and is why we have to make business decisions that ensure we can continue moving forward and are able to meet customers’ needs while also maintaining our sound financial management and competitiveness.” 

Also, in response to suppliers’ calls for increased flexibility, the SAQ will change the price adjustment calendar for the products it sells. 

Moderate change in the markup 

The SAQ is making this moderate adjustment while maintaining its commitment to offer fair and competitive retail prices compared with its Canadian peers. “Take a $25 wine, for example,” explained Mr. Farcy. “The adjusted markup will be a 0.6% increase and the increase will be the same for a $45 bottle of spirits. The depth of the SAQ’s product offer and the quality of the advisory service provided by our in-store employees mean that all customers will continue to find wines and spirits that meet their expectations while staying within their budget.”  

Price adjustment calendar 

For several years now, the SAQ has allowed upward price adjustments twice a year, in May and November, and only after a thorough analysis and negotiation of requests from its suppliers. In response to suppliers’ demands for greater flexibility, the SAQ intends to adapt its price adjustment calendar beginning this May. 

“In the future, suppliers will be able to submit an upward adjustment request in May with the option of submitting their second increase request during one of the three following periods: August, November and February of each fiscal year,” Mr. Farcy said. “Because suppliers will still be limited to two upward adjustment requests per year, the added flexibility will not increase the number of price adjustments in a year. There will thus be no impact on our customers.” 

SAQ prices explained 

It should be noted that the markup is one of the components of the retail price of products sold at the SAQ. For details about the various components that make up the price paid for a bottle of wine or spirits, see Prices explained podcast episode, which provides a clear and transparent explanation of the subject.