The Societe des alcools du Quebec posted a 4.7% net profit on Friday for its third quarter, supported by a 4.1% increase in sales.
For the three months ended December 31, the Crown corporation’s result was $ 411.5 million, while its total revenues were $ 1.121 billion.
Sales by branches and specialty centers rose 3.7% to $ 998.4 million in the most recent quarter, while wholesaler-groceries rose 7.7% to $ 122.7 million.
Expressed in volume terms, SAQ sales were 68.1 million liters in the third quarter, up 2.9% from the previous year.
The SAQ recalled having recorded these results when a first reduction in prices was made in the third quarter on about 1600 wines, as well as on variegated drinks. Two further price decreases were made in January and February.
The net expense ratio, which reflects sales-related expenses, decreased to 15.7% in the most recent quarter, compared to 16.3% in the same period a year earlier. For the first three quarters of the current fiscal year, this ratio reached 16.7%, compared to 17.2% for the first three quarters of the previous fiscal year.
The SAQ has eliminated 280 positions since the beginning of the fiscal year ending March 31, measures that forced it to extend severance pay and transitional allowances that totaled $ 3.19 million as of February 10 .
The most recent wave of layoffs, which occurred in January, affected 190 jobs in all areas of the organization, with the exception of its branch network.
In addition, negotiations began on the collective agreement of some 5500 store and office employees of the SAQ, associated with the Confédération des syndicats nationaux (CSN). Their contract of employment signed in 2010 will expire on 31 March.