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The Société des alcools du Québec announces net earnings of $1.114 billion for its 2017-2018 fiscal year

Montreal, June 14, 2018 – The SAQ ended its 2017-2018 fiscal year on March 31, 2018, with net earnings of $1.114 billion, up 2.6% from the preceding year. Sales totalled $3.252 billion, a 4.1% increase from fiscal 2016-2017.

A $1.114 billion dividend paid to the Quebec government to the benefit of all Quebecers

  • The dividend was $28 million (2.6%) higher than last year’s, despite the price reductions first introduced in the third quarter of fiscal 2016-2017.
  • Government revenue totalled $2.192 billion, an increase of $59.1 million (2.8%), including $1.787 billion remitted to the Quebec treasury and $424.6 million to the federal government.

Rising sales

  • Sales from all sales and distribution networks combined grew $129.1 million (4.1%) to $3.252 billion.
  • Volume sales reached 201.3 million litres, an increase of 12.3 million litres (8.2%).
  • The store and specialized centre network recorded sales of $2.909 billion, a rise of $132.4 million (4.8%).
  • The corresponding volume sales increased 13.3 million litres (8.5%) to 169 million litres.
  • Sales in the wholesale grocer network were down a slight $3.3 million (1.0%) to $342.7 million.
  • Volume sales for this network decreased 1 million litres (2.4%) to 41.3 million litres.

The 2017-2018 fiscal year included an additional week of operation and two Easter holidays. In addition, the price reductions first introduced in the third quarter of the preceding fiscal year on some 1,600 wines contributed to the increase in volume sales and had an impact on the rise in dollar sales and margins.

An even better-performing SAQ

  • Expressed as a percentage of sales, net expenses showed improvement, ending the year at 16.6% versus 18.2% in fiscal 2016-2017.
  • Net expenses totalled $539.2 million, a $29.2 million (5.1%) decrease from the preceding fiscal year.

Achieved despite the expenses stemming from the extra week of operation in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, this performance is the direct result of the company’s ongoing efforts to improve efficiency and effectiveness, all while maintaining the advisory service appreciated by customers.

Operational excellence

The SAQ always seeks to offer its customers fair and competitive prices while maintaining price stability. When negotiating with suppliers, the company insists on obtaining the best purchase price in Canada. The actions taken by the SAQ in the last two years have made it a price leader among Canadian liquor control boards, and the results show that its price reduction strategy has been profitable for its customers, suppliers and shareholder.

To make its supply chain more flexible and better performing, the SAQ replaced the warehouse management system (WMS) in its distribution centres. The new technology offers improved product tracking and increased operational flexibility and helped the SAQ to support the 4.1% increase in shipments.

To improve efficiency and reduce costs, the SAQ began using its own truck fleet to deliver customer orders for pick-up in stores instead of relying on an external partner. By combining these additional deliveries with the regular deliveries made to stores, the company not only achieved savings of $110,000 but also improved its environmental performance by decreasing vehicle usage.

Excellence in customer experience

The SAQ continued its efforts to improve the customer experience, reaching a customer satisfaction rate of 94%. The company offers a wide range of products, specifically some 13,300 products from 81 countries, 19% of which were new in fiscal 2017-2018. The SAQ now sells 1,100 organic products (up 9%) in response to Quebecers’ growing interest in this product category. Tellingly, sales of organic products rose 28% this year.

The SAQ further personalized its offer by introducing its new mobile app and offers tailored to Inspire customers. Since its launch, SAQ Inspire has grown to 2.2 million members. Nearly 70% of sales made at the SAQ are linked to an Inspire account. This year, 855,000 members redeemed points at least once, for a total redemption value of $41.6 million.

Although Quebecers enjoy a special relationship with SAQ advisors, the website continues to attract customers. Sales of $38.7 million were made through the channel in fiscal 2017-2018, up 49% from the preceding year. also placed sixth in the E-performance Barometer, which rates the customer experience found on every wine sales website in the world.

Annual Report 2018 (PDF - 2,25 MB)