THUNDER BAY – Was it people celebrating? Or was it people trying to drink away their sorrows? It is hard to tell. However you want to look at it the LCBO ended fiscal 2010-11 with $4.55 billion in sales, up $243 million (5.6 per cent) from 2009-10. It transferred a record $1.55 billion, not including taxes, to the Ontario government, $140 million (9.9 per cent) more than 2009-10. Net income rose $127 million to $1.56 billion, up 8.8 per cent.
It was LCBO’s 16th straight year of record sales and 17th consecutive record dividend. These financials have yet to be audited. LCBO revenue helps pay for health care, education, social programs, infrastructure and other important provincial government services.
“The improving economy saw shoppers trading up to premium products again and this contributed to higher net sales,” said LCBO President and CEO Bob Peter. “Good expense control and inventory management, combined with appealing products and promotions, helped us exceed plan and last year’s dividend.”
While all major product categories saw increases, Ontario VQA table wines and Ontario craft beers did exceptionally well. VQA wines rose almost 15 per cent while local craft beers were up almost 53 per cent.
“There’s growing interest in buying local products and we’re seeing very positive results from our promotional efforts in support of VQA wines and Ontario craft beers,” noted Peter.
Fiscal 2010-11 was also a banner year for Vintages, LCBO’s fine wine and premium spirits business unit, with sales rising 15.3 per cent or $51 million over the previous year to $383.7 million.
Key product sales trends in 2010-11:
- Spirits sales rose 4.4 per cent to $1.84 billion
- Wine sales rose 6.7 per cent to $1.57 billion (whites up 7.4 per cent, reds up 6.2 per cent and rosés up 14.7 per cent).
- Beer sales were up almost five per cent, totaling $905 million.
- LCBO gift card sales were up 17 per cent and sales of gift packs rose 10.7 per cent.
In fiscal 2010-11, LCBO opened 19 new stores and carried out major upgrades on 32 outlets. These retail improvements contributed some $80 million in additional sales.