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SAQ confirms a single upward price adjustment in 2020

• Upward price adjustment normally scheduled for next November cancelled
• Average increase of 1.8% or $0.42 on 1,828 continuous replenishment products
• $1.2 million absorbed by the SAQ related to the increase in excise tax since April 1, 2020

Montreal, August 13, 2020 – On Sunday, August 16, the SAQ will upwardly adjust the prices of several of the continuous replenishment products it offers to its customers, as we announce in June. This will be the sole upward price adjustment authorized in 2020, while the SAQ will cancel the second increase normally scheduled for November.

The SAQ notes that, under normal circumstances, upward price adjustments are permitted in May and November every year, while 11 downward adjustments are planned annually.

In figures
As part of this adjustment, the prices of 1,828 of 2,798 continuous replenishment products will increase by an average of 1.8%, or $0.42, while the prices of 926 will remain stable and 44 price decreases will be added to the 138 implemented since November 2019.

Of the 192 continuous replenishment wines offered below $12, only 11 will rise above this level. In the coming months, the SAQ will work to bring back the same number of products to this price segment.

This past April, because of the economic impacts of COVID-19 on many Quebecers, the SAQ postponed the adjustment of retail prices for wines and spirits, normally scheduled for May, to a later date.

Factors influencing price increases
Requests for increases are coming mainly from the producers. Also, the fluctuation in the exchange rates of the euro (+4.3%) and the U.S. dollar (+4.9%) had a significant impact on the products whose prices are negotiated in those currencies. The increase in excise duties on alcoholic beverages was another factor that had an impact on the price variance. The SAQ obviously has no control over these latter two factors.

Increase in excise tax absorbed by the SAQ since April 1, 2020
With respect to excise duties, an indirect tax on consumer products, the SAQ notes that since the new rates came into effect on April 1, it has covered the increases on every litre of wine and spirits for the benefit of its customers during the COVID-19 situation. This means that $1.2 million has not been paid by its customers in the last four months.

Commitment to fair and competitive pricing
The SAQ is committed to always offering fair and competitive prices for the products it sells. It negotiates diligently with its suppliers to be able to offer the lowest prices in Canada. The SAQ’s constant efforts in this regard have enabled it to rank first among its peers in Canada in terms of prices since 2018.

“Offering fair prices is one of the pillars of the SAQ’s customer experience. That’s why, considering the exceptional period we’ve been going through for the past few months, we have revised our price adjustment schedule to grant only one price increase in 2020. Our supply-management teams are always working rigorously so that each price increase can be fully justified,” said Sandrine Bourlet, Vice-President, Procurement and Merchandising, at the SAQ. She added: “The transparency of our pricing structure, which is also explained in our Annual Report, is essential. We post a page to our website explaining the negotiation process and the mechanics of price adjustments that have an impact on our customers’ spending.”

The next authorized upward price adjustment period is scheduled for May 2021.

To find out more about prices at the SAQ, visit the brand-new web page: “Breaking down SAQ prices”.

About the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ)
Created in 1921, the SAQ imports, distributes and sells a broad range of wines, beers and spirits. Its sales network comprises 410 stores and 426 agency stores located throughout Quebec and a transactional website, SAQ.COM. Driven by the passion and know-how of its 7,000 employees, the SAQ offers Quebecers a world of discovery, with more than 35,000 products from 3,700 suppliers in 80 countries. In fiscal 2019-2020, the SAQ supported some 3,000 organizations and events and paid a dividend of $1.226 to the Government of Quebec, while also ensuring its business activities respected local communities and the environment.

For more information, visit the SAQ.COM website, follow us on Twitter @LaSAQ_officiel or see our Facebook or LinkedIn pages.