The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) will carry out its first upward price adjustment of 2023 on Saturday, June 18. Generally speaking, the prices of regular and continuous replenishment products will rise an average 1.1%.

Originally scheduled for May, the price adjustment was postponed to give the SAQ time to integrate the recent drop in ocean transport costs into its price structure. Those costs rose sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the SAQ had committed to ensuring that the retail prices of its products would reflect any future freight cost reductions. As a result, the SAQ has been able to limit the average price increase for its products to 1.1%, largely by lowering the prices on nearly 800 items.

“Despite the inflationary environment we’ve been experiencing for several months now, our teams have managed to strike a balance between meeting the justified demands of our suppliers and offering products from around the globe at a fair and competitive price,” said Catherine Dagenais, President and Chief Executive Officer of the SAQ. “Like other retailers, the SAQ isn’t immune to inflation. However, despite the stronger euro and U.S. dollar and higher cost of raw materials, we’ve succeeded in limiting the retail price increase to well below the Consumer Price Index, which was 4.8% in April in Quebec.”

Value picks

The SAQ also succeeded in maintaining its offer of Value Pick products, which retail for less than $12. A total of 118 products are currently available. However, after next Sunday’s price adjustment, the number will rise to 122 products available for purchase in stores and on SAQ.COM.

“The current economy is impacting our customers,” Ms. Dagenais added. “It’s why our teams are constantly working to maintain and even expand our offer of Value Pick products though without compromising on the quality our customers expect.”

By way of reminder, the SAQ authorizes price increases only twice a year, in May and November. Price cuts, on the other hand, are implemented continuously throughout the year.

Regular and continuous replenishment products (which make up more than 90% of the products sold to our customers)

  • Overall average increase : 1.1%
  • Number of price increases : 1,862
  • Average increase $0.87 : (3.2%)
  • Number of price decreases : 795
  • Average decrease : $0.53 (2.7%)
  • Number of products whose prices remained the same : 791

Of the 1,862 products whose prices increased, around 140 will not see their prices adjusted until July 16, 2023, because they are currently on promotion.

Factors influencing the price adjustments

Lower ocean transport costs

Ocean transport costs have stabilized in recent months and the cost of shipping our goods is falling. This has had a positive impact on retail prices, to our customers’ benefit.

Higher production costs for suppliers

Our suppliers can’t avoid inflation and their production costs are rising, particularly for dry goods and labour, adding to the pressure on prices.

The stronger euro and U.S. dollar 

The value of the euro and the U.S. dollar has risen sharply in recent months, which is why the exchange rate for all products paid for in euros or U.S. dollars has also risen.

Adjustment of the excise duties on beverage alcohol

On April 1, the government of Canada implemented a 2% annual increase in the excise duties on beverage alcohol. The increase is yet another factor impacting the price adjustment process.