Montreal, June 16, 2017 – The SAQ ended its 2016-2017 fiscal year with a profit of $1.086, up 1.8% from the preceding year. Sales totalled $3.123 billion, a 1.6% increase from fiscal 2015-2016.
A $1.086 billion divided to the benefit of all Quebecers
The divided was $7.7 million higher than the target set by the government in its March 2017 budget and $18.7 million higher than that of the preceding year.
Government revenue totalled $2.132 billion, an increase of $39.3 million (1.9%), including $1.715 billion paid to the Quebec treasury and $417,2 million to the federal government.
Net sales from all sales and distribution networks combined grew $49 million (1.6%) to $3.123 billion.
Volume sales reached 198 million litres, an increase of 1.9 million litres (1%).
The store and specialized centre network recorded net sales of $2.777 billion, a rise of $30.4 million (1.1%).
The corresponding volume sales increased 0.6 million litres (0.4%) to 155.7 million litres.
Net sales in the wholesale grocer network rose $18.6 million (5.7%) to $346 million.
The volume sales for this network totalled 42.3 million litres, an increase of 1.3 million litres (3.2%).
These results were achieved despite there being no Easter holiday during the fiscal year—as opposed to two during the preceding fiscal year — and despite the third and fourth-quarter price reductions on some 1,600 wines that account for the majority of in-store sales.
An increasingly efficient organization
Expressed as a percentage of sales, net expenses showed improvement, ending the year at 18.2% versus 18.6% in fiscal 2015-2016. On a comparable basis and excluding the effects of the price reductions and restructuring costs, the ratio would have been 17.8%.
Net expenses totalled $568.4 million, a $2.4 million (0.4%) decrease from the preceding fiscal year.
These results say much about the sustained efforts made to increase the organization’s efficiency while continuing to provide the advisory service so appreciated by customers. Even more significant results are expected for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, which will be presented on an annualized basis.
Initiatives taken during the year
Always seeking to adapt to the needs and habits of its customers, the SAQ took action in several areas during the year. The initiatives undoubtedly had an impact on the SAQ’s customer satisfaction level, which, at 94%, was the highest ever recorded.
The SAQ’s strong performance and efficiency gains allowed it to deliver three successive price reductions to its customers, lowering the prices of continuous replenishment wines by $1.40 a bottle and coolers by 15%.
Improving the customer experience
A more personalized approach enriched the SAQ Inspire experience and opened the door to more effective marketing operations. Based on individual members’ purchase history and preferences, the Inspire newsletter now provides customers offers aligned with their tastes. In the last six months, more than a third of members have taken advantage of at least one of the offers sent to them.
To facilitate access to the expanded selection of products on SAQ.com, the SAQ extended its Click, Purchase, Pick Up service to nearly 100 additional stores. This means customers can buy products online and have them delivered to one of the 361 SAQ stores now offering the service.
A section devoted to low-priced wines was recently introduced following a test carried out in the network earlier in the fiscal year. This new development is much appreciated by customers, who can now find the wines more easily.
Another recent change is that organic products are now clearly identified with a special shelf label in SAQ stores. A test carried out last fall was conclusive, confirming customers’ interest in knowing which wines are made using responsible practices.
Launch of The spirit of sharing magazine
In May, the SAQ launched a new magazine whose features aim to enhance readers’ eating and drinking pleasure. One way the new publication stands out is through its online version, whose content is refreshed every week and is always available free of charge, in French and English, at saq.com/magazine.