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First quarter of 2019-2020: SAQ sales increase, reaching $763.6 million

The SAQ is off to a good start with its 2019-2020 fiscal year. For the first quarter, which began March 31, 2019 and ended June 22, 2019, the company recorded sales of $736.6 million, an $8.9 million (1.2%) increase over the first quarter of the last fiscal year. The SAQ’s net earnings for the quarter rose 0.3% to $260.8 million, which was remitted in its entirety to the Quebec government to benefit all Quebecers.

Net earnings


$260.8 million


$763.6 million


Gross margin

Net expenses to sales ratio

$380 million



Sales in the store and specialized centre network

  • Volume sales held steady at 39.7 million litres.
  • Dollar sales in the network totalled $693.2 million, a $19.3 million or 2.9% increase.

Sales in the wholesale grocer network

  • Sales in this network fell $10.4 million (12.9%) to $70.4 million.
  • The corresponding volume sales dropped 12.2% to 8.6 million litres.
  • The first quarter decline in sales in the wholesale grocer network is mainly due to the network’s having submitted a large number of orders to the SAQ in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018-2019.

Improvement in the net expenses to sales ratio

  • The SAQ continued its optimization efforts in the first quarter of its 2019-2020 fiscal year, lowering the ratio of net expenses to sales to 15.6% versus 15.8% in the first quarter of fiscal 2018-2019.

Average shopping cart

Store customers’ average shopping cart rose to $48.78 compared with $47.85 in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal year. The average sales price per litre was $19.10 as opposed to $18.60 in the first quarter of fiscal 2018-2019.

The SAQ continues to work closely with its suppliers to offer fair and competitive prices to Quebec consumers and to retain its place at the top of the Canadian Association of Liquor Jurisdictions (CALJ) ranking.


“The SAQ is entirely satisfied with its first quarter results. We very much plan to continue this growth through the sustained efforts of our employees, through our business initiatives and by improving our performance.”

Catherine Dagenais
President and Chief Executive Officer

Highlights of the quarter

The SAQ raises $813,032 for Banques alimentaires du Québec

The involvement of SAQ employees and generosity of our customers resulted in a $813,032 donation to Banques alimentaires du Québec, providing vital assistance to thousands across Quebec.

During the first semester of 2019-2020, the SAQ also supported 112 events troughout Quebec trough its donations and sponsorships program, giving more than $867,000.

New store in Quebec City’s Grand Marché

On June 14, the SAQ opened a new store in the Quebec City area. Located in the Grand Marché de Québec, the store provides the SAQ with a perfect opportunity to spotlight its broad selection of Quebec products expertly made by local artisans.

The Inspire program takes top honours at the 2019 Shopper Innovation + Activation Awards

On April 29, the SAQ won the Retail Innovator of the Year category at the 2019 Shopper Innovation + Activation Awards in Toronto. Three years after launching the Inspire program, the SAQ continues to personalize its customer experience.

The Inspire program approach has been successfully integrated with the ever more important omnichannel approach and has raised the SAQ to the ranks of Canada’s most innovative companies as it relates to customer experience.

The Quarterly Report Q1 2019-2020 is now available (in French only) on