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The SAQ expands its Montreal distribution centre


Montreal, February 10, 2021 – The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) today announced that it will invest $48.5 million to expand its Montreal distribution centre. Construction of the 200,000 square foot expansion and installation of automated single order picking equipment will boost operational efficiency.

This infrastructure investment, the first of its scale in in more than two decades at the SAQ, is a key initiative of the company’s 2021-2023 strategic plan published last October.

The modernization will enable the SAQ to:

  • group all single-unit picking activities in a single centre;
  • expand the offering on SAQ.COM and to permit holders by making nearly 20,000 products available, including private import products by the unit;
  • offer next-day delivery of online orders;
  • increase warehouse performance times and efficiency, in particular by installing automated single order picking equipment; and
  • support the expected growth in sales volume in all the SAQ’s customer segments.

“This investment is part of a structured modernization plan that will allow us to continue meeting customers’ expectations and adapt to the changing retail landscape,” said Catherine Dagenais, SAQ President and Chief Executive Officer. “It represents a significant upgrade of our supply chain and will give us the capacity we need to transform our operations and the experience we want to deliver to customers, including permit holders.”

When the expansion is complete, the surface area of the SAQ’s facilities and warehouses in Montreal’s east end will total more than 1 million square feet.

A few weeks ago, in compliance with the Act respecting the Société des alcools du Québec, the SAQ received the Quebec government’s go-ahead to begin work on the expansion of the distribution centre.

Job stability
The expected growth in sales in coming years will allow the SAQ to maintain the number of order-processing jobs at a stable level. The project will therefore not result in any job cuts. The company will develop training programs to support its employees. The company will also work closely with the employees and unions concerned by the coming transformation.

Next steps
In the coming weeks, the SAQ will launch a call for tenders and complete the project design with the aim of beginning construction on the Montreal distribution centre expansion by 2022. Current plans are for the order-picking equipment to be operational by 2024.

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 as well as 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 300 organizations and events and paid a dividend of $1.226 billion to the Quebec government, while also ensuring its business activities respected local communities and the environment.