SAQ reports increase in sales and profits during third quarter

Wine sales continue to represent the largest share of its business, increasing by 5.1 per cent during the third quarter to $950 million.

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The Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) on Monday reported sales had increased by 6.8 per cent for its third quarter ending on Jan. 1, a result the liquor board attributed to the easing of health regulations prior to the arrival of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.

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The Crown corporation posted net income of $495.7 million for the quarter, an increase of 8.1 per cent compared with the same period a year earlier.

Revenues rose from $1.267 billion during last year’s third quarter to $1.354 billion this quarter. Translated into volume, however, SAQ sales rose by just 1.2 per cent to 75.8 million litres.

Sales in SAQ outlets and specialized centers increased by 10.1 per cent while those in bars and restaurant — which were in the process of gradually reopening during that period — rose by 7.5 per cent.

Online sales dropped by 6.2 per cent during the third quarter compared with a year earlier, representing just 3.4 per cent of consumer sales.

Net expenditures during the quarter — which represent sales, marketing and distribution expenses from which advertising, promotional and miscellaneous revenue are subtracted — increased by 1.6 per cent to $179.7 million. However, when expressed as a percentage of sales, they represented a ratio of 13.3 per cent compared with 14 per cent during the same quarter a year earlier.

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Wine sales continue to represent the largest share of the SAQ’s business, increasing by 5.1 per cent during the third quarter to $950 million, while sales of spirits increased by 9.8 per cent to $338.9 million.

The public’s enthusiasm for specialty “cooler” drinks continued to manifest itself during the quarter, with sales increasing by 44.8 per cent to $23.6 million. However, the sale of beer, ciders and related products dropped by 2.4 per cent during the quarter to $8.2 million.

SAQ management said it was “satisfied” with the results. “Despite the fact that uncertainties remain over the evolution of the COVID-19 crisis, SAQ management is confident of achieving net income higher than objectives,” the liquor board in its interim financial report.

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