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Net income reaches $311 million in second quarter of fiscal 2020-2021

Montreal, December 7, 2020 – The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) today announced the results for the second quarter of its 2020-2021 fiscal year. Sales during the quarter totalled $861 million, a 6.7% increase from the second quarter of the preceding fiscal year. The SAQ also reported net income of $311 million, remitted in its entirety to the Quebec government.

Net income
$311 million

$861 million
Gross margin
$435.7 million
Ratio of net expenses to sales


Store and specialized centre (permit holders, agency stores and other customers) network
Sales in this network totalled $782.2 million versus $730.8 million in the second quarter of the preceding fiscal year, a $51.4 million increase. For their part, volume sales rose 4.7% to 44.7 million litres. Among the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic have been changes in consumer behaviour, in particular a reduction in restaurant and bar spending, and restrictions on travel outside Quebec. These factors help explain the $91.9 million increase in store network sales, which more than offset the $45.8 million decrease in sales to permit holders.

Wholesale grocer network
Sales in the wholesale grocer network grew $2.4 million or 3.1% to $78.8 million. Volume sales in this network saw an increase of 0.1 million litres or 1.1%.

Net expenses
Net expenses in the second quarter totalled $124.7 million, up $9.7 million from the $115 million recorded in the second quarter of the preceding fiscal year. Of this increase, additional costs directly attributable to the pandemic were estimated at $5.5 million; these include protecting employees’ and customers’ health and safety as well as the loss in hospitality sector income. Net expenses as a percentage of sales were 14.5% for the second quarter as opposed to 14.2% for the second quarter of fiscal 2019-2020.

Average shopping cart
Customers’ average in-store purchase totalled $72.09 for the quarter versus $49.05 for the same period last year. The increase is explained by the significant drop in in-store traffic, with customers preferring to visit stores less often, as recommended by public health officials. The average sales price per litre was $19.36, compared with $18.73 for the corresponding quarter in fiscal 2019-2020.

Q2 2020-2021 Report (in French only)

Notable developments

Online sales surge
In the second quarter, online sales were 87% higher than in the corresponding quarter of fiscal 2019-2020, totalling 2.4% of all consumer sales. The number of transactions and of bottles sold nearly doubled during the same period. First noted early in the pandemic, the trend of people putting more bottles in their shopping cart has continued, which has had the effect of boosting sales.

Contribution to Food Banks of Quebec
Between August 27 and September 2, the SAQ held a new fundraising campaign for the Food Banks of Quebec (FBQ) network. A total of $572,806 was presented to the FBQ.