Message from the President & CEO

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Fiscal 2015-16 was my last year as President & CEO of the LCBO and I am proud of the results we posted and the direction this organization is heading.

We transferred $1.94 billion to the Ontario government, an increase of $130 million versus last year and marking our 22nd consecutive year of dividend growth. These funds help pay for infrastructure and government services. Our sales were also a record at $5.57 billion, which was ahead of plan and 6.6 per cent above last year – an excellent result and well above the Ontario retail average.

We benefitted from market conditions, which were fairly positive for our business overall. The low Canadian dollar brought more tourists to Ontario, resulting in more out-of-town visitors shopping our stores. Likewise, the exchange rate kept more Ontarians vacationing at home, which also helped boost sales. But I have to also credit our marketing efforts and frontline staff. For anyone looking for a bottle of wine with dinner, a recipe to accompany a favourite craft beer, or the perfect gift for a whisky-lover, our customers know they can count on us.

In addition to selling product, the public also counts on us to know when not to sell product. To that end, our frontline staff challenged 14.5 million customers and refused service to nearly 346,000, 85 per cent for reasons of age.

This trusting relationship we have with our customers is especially important in a time of increasing competition in the beverage alcohol marketplace. As customers will have the option of buying their beer, cider and wine from grocery stores, we have to ensure that making a trip to the LCBO is more enjoyable and informative than ever.

At the same time, we are being entrusted by the government to be the wholesaler of beer, cider and wine to authorized grocers. We have created a Grocery Operations team that quickly put systems in place to serve this new customer channel. We know from our own experience that retailers have high expectations of their suppliers and we welcome the challenge to expand our wholesaling capabilities.

While we stand to gain from an increase in wholesale sales, we are not taking a “wait-and-see” attitude when it comes to retail. We are reviewing all our operations with a renewed customer-first mindset. We have many competitive advantages to build upon, such as our frontline product knowledge experts, broad product assortment, selection of local/craft products, and a network of 654 stores staffed with teams of employees that make each visit an experience that is both enjoyable and educational.

Our frontline staff will play a key role in the new e-commerce platform, one of the most significant cross-divisional projects ever undertaken by the LCBO. Launching in 2016, customers will initially be able to purchase from a selection of 5,000 products, including general list, Vintages Essentials, products from LCBO’s Consignment Program and other Canadian provinces. Customers will have the option of having the product shipped to them via Canada Post (for a fee) or picking it up at the store most convenient to them at no extra charge. Store staff look forward to serving our customers and engaging with them through this new channel when they come into the store to collect their orders.  

When I reflect on where the LCBO was 14 years ago and all that the organization has accomplished during my tenure, I could not be more pleased. Sales and the dividend to the province have practically doubled. Our employees’ fundraising efforts have improved exponentially. We have made the working environment safer for our employees through new training programs and such initiatives as lightweight glass. Domestic producers have thrived through our partnership. And we have fulfilled our social responsibility mandate with care and creativity in encouraging responsible hosting and the prevention of drinking and driving and other high-risk behaviours.

I want to thank everyone at the LCBO for delivering 14 record years under my leadership. The LCBO has a strong track record of results, is changing with the times, and as the next chapter begins under George Soleas I think the future is equally bright.

Bob Peter,

President & CEO