1707802245 Surprising price increase at SAQ

Surprising price increase at SAQ

The SAQ, which has sold its wine bottles an average of $3.36 more for three years, continues to raise its prices. This time the monopoly's profit per bottle sold increases and not that of the suppliers.

• Also read: Less attractive discounts at SAQ Dépôt

The measure announced on Monday affects the majority of the 40,000 products marketed. Only bottles of wine priced at $15 and under are spared, while spirits, ready-to-drink drinks, beer, cider and the rest of the wine are included.

Surprising price increase at SAQ

Graphic taken from page 31 of the SAQ Annual Report 2022-2023

With this increase, the first in seven years, the state-owned company wants to extract $10 million more per year from the residents of Quebec.

These adjustments have nothing to do with the two price increases granted to suppliers in May and November each year. This increase goes directly into the SAQ's coffers.

The company boss repeated at least 20 times on Monday morning that it was a “moderate” increase. At 0.6%, says Jacques Farcy, a $25 bottle now costs $25.15.

Surprising price increase at SAQ

Jacques Farcy received the media on Monday at the SAQ headquarters in Montreal. Photo Julien Mcevoy

However, this will not represent a 0.6% increase for the $100 bottle. The higher the price of the product, the greater the increase.

“We have to deal with a context, we have to adapt to it,” said the former head of the SQDC on Monday, summing up the skyrocketing cost of living.

The SAQ's spending is like everyone else's, argues Jacques Farcy, it is increasing. Rent, mortgages, salaries, the cost of building the new distribution center: everything is getting more expensive.

Not easy

The SAQ president, who has been in office for eight months, struggled on Monday morning to clearly explain what the increase was. Basically, this is the percentage of profit that the state-owned company receives from the product.

If a bottle costs $15 at checkout, the 40.9% increase is equivalent to the $6.14 the monopoly receives directly.

Surprising price increase at SAQ

Breakdown of sales price table from page 49 of the SAQ Annual Report 2022-2023

The calculation is far from consistent for every bottle sold by the SAQ, which is a problem. A cat would not currently find its babies there and the SAQ is aware of this and therefore wants to be transparent.

In Ontario, at the LCBO we receive the same percentage on all products sold. “We want to get closer to what they are doing there,” Mr. Farcy told a dozen journalists on Monday.

The SAQ just experienced its worst sales in 10 years. Less and less wine is being sold: ready-to-drink wines will be the trend in 2024.

“We thought about it a lot. “It’s a question of good management,” the boss said openly about the price increase on Monday.

An increasingly expensive 750 ml

Average increase per bottle in SAQ

2023: $1.19

2022: $1.47

2021: $0.70

Nov 2023: 0.7% (1877 products)

May 2023: 1.1% (1862 products)

Nov 2022: 2.4% (1458 products)

May 2022: 3.7% (2550 products)

Nov 2021: 1.7% (1332 products)

May 2021: 1.2% (1827 products)

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