Montreal, June 9, 2020 – The SAQ ended its 2019-2020 fiscal year on March 28, 2020, with net income of $1.226 billion, up $79.6 million from the preceding fiscal year. Sales rose 5.9% to reach $3.489 billion.
A $1.226 billion dividend paid to the Quebec government to the benefit of all Quebecers.
Government revenue totalled $2.373 billion, a $138.5 million (6.2%) increase, and included $1.916 billion and $456.5 million respectively remitted to the Quebec treasury and the federal government. This is the eighth year running that the SAQ has paid a dividend of more than $1 billion to the Quebec government.
Additional sales and costs attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic in the last two weeks of the fiscal year did not have a significant impact on net income.
Store and specialized centre (permit holders, agencies and other customers) network:
- Sales up 6.5%.
- Dollar sales for the network totalled $3,137 million, a $190.2 million increase.
- Volume sales rose 4.6% to 174.6 million litres.
- The average shopping cart of purchases by store customers (the average purchase, including sales taxes), totalled $51.40 in fiscal 2019-2020, compared with $49.84 in the preceding fiscal year. For its part, the average sales price per litre (the average purchase price paid by customers, excluding sales taxes) was $19.68, compared with $19.34 in fiscal 2018-2019.
Wholesale grocer network:
- Sales up $4.6 million.
- Dollar sales for the network totalled $351.5 million, a 1.3% increase.
- The corresponding volume sales rose 2.9% to 42.9 million litres.
The SAQ improved its net-expenses-to-sales ratio, lowering it to 15.4% from 15.9% in fiscal 2018-2019.
Unmatched product variety
Because our customers are curious and like to explore, our buyers constantly track down quality products from the world’s best terroirs. In fiscal 2019-2020, we offered more than 15,700 products in our stores and on SAQ.COM to meet customers’ expectations. To this can be added some 20,000 private import products, mainly purchased by permit holders seeking to stand out with an original and exclusive drinks list. More than 3,700 suppliers in 80 countries help make Quebec a wine and spirits destination held up as a model in the industry.
Local products in demand
Quebecers are ever more aware of and interested in products made by local producers. Over the last fiscal year, the SAQ offered nearly 800 Quebec products to consumers. The gin category continued to surge in popularity, with volume sales up 55% from the preceding fiscal year.
Growing offer of organic wines
Be they organic, biodynamic or natural, earth-friendly wines are increasingly sought out by SAQ customers. In fiscal 2019-2020, 1,433 eco-responsible products were offered to customers, an 11.4% increase in one year. Customers took advantage of the improved offer to discover products they appreciate, as indicated by the 23.9% rise in volume sales.
An increasing number of consumers are turning to the Web to do their shopping and buy presale products. This led the SAQ to launch its new SAQ.COM platform in fiscal 2019-2020. Besides being easier to navigate with an improved search function and an updated geolocation tool that shows product availability in nearby stores, the new site adapts to all types of devices (smartphones, tablets and computer screens). The platform’s capacity has also been augmented so it can handle the increase in traffic associated with the release of highly sought-after products. Last fiscal year, traffic on SAQ.COM grew 7.8% to 37.2 million visits, making it one of the most visited Quebec-based online shopping sites in the province.
The SAQ: a company that stands out
In the year just ended, the SAQ took first place in the WOW index in the in-store retail experience category and fourth place in the online retail experience category. Developed by the Léger polling firm, the WOW index recognizes the top retailers among 200 Quebec companies and is based on an online survey of more than 15,000 Quebecers. In addition, 93% of the some 110,000 customers surveyed by the SAQ in fiscal 2019-2020 said they were satisfied with the in-store customer experience they received.
The SAQ Sélection De la Montagne store in Montreal won the award for retail space between 1,600 and 5,400 square feet and tied for the special lighting award at the 2020 Grands Prix du design. The SAQ also took top honours in the Retail Innovator of the Year category at Toronto’s 2019 Shopper Innovation + Activation Awards organized by Strategy, a prominent Canadian marketing magazine.
A company involved in its community
For more than a decade now, the SAQ has embraced food assistance as a corporate cause. In fiscal 2019-2020, the government corporation transferred to Food Banks of Quebec more than $2.3 million raised through various initiatives.
Because being part of Quebecers’ celebrations is in its DNA, the SAQ also contributed the equivalent of $6.1 million to 64 events and festivals and 221 fundraising events in fiscal 2019-2020. The recipients were organizations active in the health, education and culture fields throughout Quebec.
Firm commitment to the challenge of glass recycling in Quebec
On the sustainable development front, fiscal 2019-2020 was marked by the SAQ’s decision to support the introduction of a deposit-refund system for glass in Quebec. While deeply involved with the glass issue for decades, the company has now made managing post-consumer glass one of its corporate objectives. And because it has significant buying power in the global wine and spirits industry, the SAQ is committed to using its influence to guide the industry to change its glass use practices.
The SAQ’s 2019-2020 fiscal year ended under unusual circumstances related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Considered an essential business, the SAQ remained open during the government-ordered lockdown and quickly adapted its operations to the new reality. The company implemented a number of initiatives to ensure the safety of employees and customers while continuing to make a priority of delivering the best possible customer experience and contributing to the community’s well-being. Fortunately, the SAQ has been able to rely on a dynamic, flexible team that swiftly adjusted to the new business context and came up with creative solutions for better serving our various customer segments.
The SAQ makes its financial results accessible to all Quebecers in its Annual Report 2019-2020 (French only, english version coming soon), which is now available on SAQ.COM.