SAQ locations could open in Quebec grocery stores

Quebec's liquor board approached three major grocery retailers to test pilot project for 2015

Quebec residents might be able to pair their grocery purchases with a complementary wine next year.

The Societe des Alcools du Quebec, Quebec’s liquor board, is toying with the idea of opening SAQ outlets in grocery stores.

“We’re looking for a pilot project – to install a shop-in-shop – an SAQ-owned shop inside a grocery store,” said Renaud Dugas, SAQ spokesman.  While the SAQ would be built within the store, each SAQ location would be managed by its own employees.

The idea originated a few months ago when the SAQ temporarily moved one of its stores inside a Loblaws location in Quebec city while a renovation took place. According to Dugas, 86% of customers were satisfied with the experience of having grocers, wines and spirits under one roof.

Dugas said he hopes to open between two to six stores in 2015. He’s approached Metro, Sobeys and Loblaw to measure their interest in testing this pilot project.

But according to an article in La Presse, not all grocers are going to jump at the opportunity to install SAQ branches in their stores.

Florent Gravel, CEO of the Quebec Food Retailers Association, suggests retailers should instead focus on expanding their own offering rather than bring in another organization.

In April, Finance Minister Charles Sousa announced plans to open LCBO locations in grocery stores. The pilot was to begin with 10 LCBO Express kiosks to open by the end of the year, and each LCBO location to include Ontario craft beer and VQA wines.

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