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Net income of $243.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020-2021

Montreal, August 31, 2020 – The SAQ today announced the results for the first quarter of its 2020-2021 fiscal year, which ended June 20, 2020. In a quarter impacted by COVID-19 in various ways, sales totalled $768.6 million, an increase of 0.7% over the first quarter of the preceding fiscal year. The commitment of its employees enabled the SAQ to post net income of $243.5 million, remitted in its entirety to the Quebec government.


Net income
$243.5 million

$768.6 million

Gross margin
$381.6 million
Ratio of net expenses to sales


Store and specialized centre (permit holders, agency stores and other customers) network
In the store and specialized centre network, sales totalled $678.3 million, compared with $693.2 million for the preceding fiscal year, a drop of $14.9 million. The $88.8 million increase in store sales did not completely offset the $103.7 million in sales lost due to the closure of restaurants and bars. For their part, volume sales in this network fell 1% to 39.3 million litres.

Wholesale grocer network
Sales in the wholesale grocer network rose $19.9 million or 28.3% to $90.3 million, an increase partly attributable to the higher corresponding volume sales, which grew 29.1% to 11.1 million litres. The sharp rise is mainly due to the food retailing boom caused by COVID-19 and the closure of restaurants.

Net expenses
Net expenses amounted to 18% of sales in the first quarter, compared with 15.6% in the corresponding quarter of fiscal 2019-2020. Specifically, net expenses totalled $138.1 million, compared with $119.2 million for the preceding year; of the $18.9 million increase, $16.7 million is directly attributable to additional costs incurred in response to the pandemic, in particular ensuring that no employees were laid off, finding replacements for employees unable to attend work and implementing additional hygiene and other measures to protect employees’ and customers’ health and safety.

Average shopping cart
Customers’ average in-store purchase totalled $85.36 for the quarter, compared with $48.78 for the same period last year. The increase can be explained by the drop in traffic in stores, with customers choosing to visit stores less often, as recommended by public health officials. The average sales price per litre was $19.32, compared with $19.10 for the first quarter of fiscal 2019-2020.

Quarterly Report Q1 2020-2021 is now available (in French only).

Notable developments
Strong demand for Quebec products
SAQ customers’ awareness of buying local had a significant impact on sales of Quebec products. In the first quarter, overall sales for the category were up more than 40%.

Sharp rise in online sales
Sales on experienced exceptional growth during the quarter, rising 167% from the first quarter of fiscal 2019-2020. A similar trend was seen among Quebec products, with online sales for the category up nearly 3,000% from the corresponding quarter last year.

COVID-19: measures to assist Quebecers
In April, aware of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on many Quebecers, customers and partners, the SAQ adopted a series of measures aimed at contributing to the community effort and providing assistance to people in need. For example, the SAQ maintained its support of various organizations and events severely affected by the crisis and implemented a number of measures to reduce the impact on permit holders.

Support for Food Banks of Quebec (FBQ)
The SAQ held its 11th spring fundraising campaign for the FBQ network and donated the $12 delivery fee it charges for purchases made on to the organization. So far this year, the SAQ has raised a total of $1.8 million for the cause.