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Net income rises to $458.6 million in third quarter of fiscal 2020-2021

Montreal, March 30, 2021 – The SAQ today announced the results for the third quarter of its 2020-2021 fiscal year, which ended January 2, 2021. Compared with the third quarter of the preceding fiscal year, sales rose 3.9% to end the quarter at $1.267 billion. For their part, volume sales totalled 74.9 million litres, a 3.3% increase. The SAQ reported net income of $458.6 million, remitted in its entirety to the Quebec government. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular the disruption of restaurant and bar business, continues to drive a shift in sales from permit holders to the SAQ’s store, agency store and grocery networks.

Net income
$458.6 million


$1.267 billion

Gross margin
$635.4 million


Ratio of net expenses to sales



Store and specialized centre (permit holders, agency stores and other customers) network
Sales in this network totalled $1.118 billion versus $1.097 billion in the third quarter of the preceding fiscal year, a $21.2 million increase. Sales to consumers were up $128.7 million while those to permit holders fell $115.5 million.

Volume sales totalled 57.3 million litres, a 0.7% decrease compared with the same period last year.

Wholesale grocer network
Sales in the wholesale grocer network grew $26.6 million or 21.7% to $149.2 million. Volume sales increased 18.9% to 17.6 million litres.

Net expenses
Net expenses in the third quarter totalled $176.8 million, up $10.4 million from the $166.4 million recorded in the third quarter of the preceding fiscal year. Of this increase, additional costs directly attributable to the pandemic were estimated at $5.8 million; these include expenditures to protect employees’ and customers’ health and safety and the loss of hospitality sector income. Net expenses as a percentage of sales were 14% for the third quarter as opposed to 13.6% for the third quarter of fiscal 2019-2020.

Average shopping cart
Customers’ average in-store purchase totalled $78.42 during the quarter versus $54.25 for the same quarter last year. The increase is explained by a 22.4% drop in store traffic, with customers preferring to visit stores less often, as recommended by public health officials. The average sales price per litre in the store network increased to $21.70, compared with $20.90 for the corresponding quarter of fiscal 2019-2020.

Q3 2020-2021 report (french only)

Notable developments

Online sales on the rise
Online sales were 125.8% higher in the third quarter than in the corresponding quarter of the preceding fiscal year, totalling 3.6% of consumer sales. The number of transactions and of bottles sold more than doubled during the same period.

Contribution to Food Banks of Quebec
Between December 3 and 9, the SAQ held a new campaign for the Food Banks of Quebec (FBQ) network. A total of $883,271 was raised for the FBQ.