|Headquarters||St. Ann, Missouri|
Number of locations
|Kenneth McGrath (CEO)|
|Products||Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, general grocery, meat, produce, snacks, seafood, liquor|
Save A Lot Food Stores Ltd. is an American discount supermarket chain store headquartered in St. Ann, Missouri, in Greater St. Louis. It is a subsidiary of Onex Corporation and has about 1,300 stores across 36 states in the United States with over $4 billion in annual sales.
Stores carry most grocery products, with an assortment of fresh, canned and frozen produce, meat, meal products, household items and everyday groceries. Save A Lot grocery stores sell national brands and private label brands at a discounted price. A typical Save A Lot grocery store is 15,000 square feet (1,400 m2) with items displayed in their cardboard shipping boxes.
Save A Lot was founded in 1977 by Bill Moran as an alternative to larger supermarkets. He opened the first Save-A-Lot store in Cahokia, Illinois, and remained with the company until his retirement in 2006. Moran oversaw the expansion of his company from the one Cahokia store to more than 1,000 locations across the country. He was succeeded as President and CEO by Bill Shaner, previously COO of Save-A-Lot. Shaner began his career at Save A Lot in 1999 after spending 15 years in the operations division at parent company Supervalu. In May 2011, Bill Shaner was replaced as President and CEO of Save A Lot by Walmart veteran Santiago Roces, who most recently served as senior vice president and general manager of Walmart's small format division.
In 1978, General Grocer Company expanded the company's presence in the greater St. Louis area. Eventually, the store network grew to 30 stores by the end of the decade. At the root of company's growth strategy is its licensee relationship, in which Save-A-Lot acts as a wholesaler to its independent store owners as opposed to a franchisor. Smaller, independent grocery retailers soon found the limited assortment model to be an effective defensive strategy against the larger chain supermarkets. With help from new licensees, in 1980 alone Save A Lot added 50 stores in the Mid-South region, and a warehouse in Jackson, Tennessee.
In 1984, Save A Lot purchased 75 similar format Jewel T stores and two distribution centers from Jewel in Florida and Pennsylvania. In 1987, Save A Lot was purchased by St. Louis-based food retailer and wholesaler Wetterau Inc, then owner of former sister stores Shop 'n Save.
In 1994, both the Save A Lot and Shop 'n Save banners became wholly owned subsidiaries of Supervalu Inc, one of the largest independent grocery wholesalers, and the owners of Cub Foods and Scott's Food & Pharmacy at the time. The acquisition opened up Save-A-Lot's licensee opportunities to conventional Supervalu-supplied operators, including Niemann Foods.
In 2002, Save A Lot acquired discount variety store chain Deals with 45 stores in the Midwest. The typical Deal$ store had a slightly smaller footprint than Save-A-Lot and carried mostly non-food merchandise at dollar-increment price points. The Deal$ concept was expanded under Save A Lot to 138 stores by 2006. The acquisition also allowed Save A Lot grocery stores to stock more general merchandise in its grocery stores. The company experimented with hypermarkets which combined the discount grocery and merchandise concepts under one roof. This eventually led to 480 combination stores that did not carry the Deal$ banner. In 2006, Save A Lot sold Deal$ to Dollar Tree for $30.5 million plus inventory. Save A Lot reduced the amount of general merchandise in its combination stores and returned them to its grocery-focused model.
In 2009, Save A Lot expanded its presence internationally. In the Caribbean, Save A Lot opened the first three international licensee grocery stores in Aruba, Freeport- Bahamas and Dominica. Expansion continued with secondary locations opening in Aruba and 8 mile Rock-Bahamas. International interest and growth continued with additional stores opening in St. Vincent, Curaçao, Trinidad and Tobago- (Mount Hope and Diego Martin). From the Caribbean, expansion moved to Central America establishing the brand with the opening of two retail sites in Guatemala City. Grenada was the last international licensee scheduled opening. As of 2018, with the change of corporate ownership the overall corporate strategy shifted to focus all efforts on stateside store growth. The international retail licenses were dissolved and existing international accounts were converted to wholesale accounts. The international stores no longer operate under the Save-A-Lot brand name or Save A Lot Licensee agreement but as independent retailers.
In late 2009, newly hired Supervalu CEO Craig Herkert announced the goal to double the Save A Lot grocery store network to 2,400 locations within five years. The company would open nearly 100 stores in 2010 with a major focus on the Southeastern United States. Save A Lot plans to open a new grocery store distribution center in Davidson County, North Carolina, in 2011 that will service a portion of the new and existing stores.
Save A Lot also entered into a licensing affiliation with notable Hispanic grocer Rafael Ortega to rebrand six former Save A Lots in Houston, Texas, and South Texas as "El Ahorro Save A Lot". The new stores feature Save A Lot product offerings along with more traditional Hispanic staples.
In late 2010, Rite Aid became a licensed Save A Lot operator when it converted 10 of its existing pharmacies in the Greenville, South Carolina, area to co-branded "Save-A-Lot/Rite Aid" units. The stores have preserved the pharmacy, but replaced the bulk of its health and beauty general merchandise with Save-A-Lot grocery products including fresh meat, produce, and frozen items.
In September 2012, Supervalu announced it would close 22 Save-A-Lot stores in seven states. Several executive changes were made by Supervalu on March 4, 2013, including replacing Save-A-Lot CEO Roces with Ritchie Casteel. This came in the midst of plans by Supervalu to sell a number of its other grocery chains to Cerberus Capital Management.
Save A Lot has an extensive array of store brands, many of which are named after Save A Lot employees.
- America's Choice — premium grocery items
- Being Well — health and beauty products
- Coburn Farms — dairy
- Crystal₂O;— purified drinking water
- Ginger Evans — baking products
- Fairgrounds — deli meats
- Ferratto's — frozen pizza
- Grissom's Mill — bread and bakery items
- Hargis House - sloppy joe sauce
- J. Higgs — salty snacks
- Jade Dragon — Chinese food
- Kaskey's — soups
- Kurtz — condiments
- LeCour's Finest — cookies and crackers
- McDaniel's — coffee
- Malone's — canned meats and beans
- Mantia's — pasta and Italian
- Morning Delight — breakfast food
- Nature Trails — wholesome snacks
- Panner — peanut butter
- Port Side — seafood
- Portman's — salad dressing
- Save Today — low-end discount products
- Señora Verde — tortillas and tortilla chips
- Skillet Masters — meal mixes
- So Cheezy — cheese products
- Tío Santi — Mexican food
- Westcott — cooking oils
- World's Fair — frozen desserts
- Wylwood — canned vegetables
A majority of Save A Lot stores are owned and operated by independent licensees. Save A Lot supplies much of these stores with its exclusive branded products, but the licensed owners have the freedom to sell other non-Save A Lot products at their stores. Some licensees have added services beyond the traditional Save A Lot model that includes bakeries, delis, liquor, tobacco, money transfers, and fuel services.
The distribution of licensed stores is spread across the contiguous United States. Most of these stores are located in small rural communities in Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Western Pennsylvania, and Western New York.
After announcing it would double the size of the company in 2009, Save A Lot grocery stores began offering a licensee incentive program to spur growth in its licensed division. Pending financial approvals of each individual applicant, Save A Lot offered to provide a minimum of $200,000 in capital assistance per new store. The program began in late 2009 and is in effect through early 2011.
- Barker, Jacob. "Save-A-Lot wrapping up grocery chain's headquarters move to former Northwest Plaza mall". stltoday.com. Retrieved 2018-12-09.
- "Wal-Mart Vet Roces Named CEO of Save A Lot as Shaner Departs". Supermarket News. May 12, 2011.
- Gallagher, Jim (May 13, 2011). "Supervalu taps Wal-Mart exec to head Save-A-Lot". St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
- "Dollar Tree to buy Deal$ for $30.5M". American City Business Journals. February 22, 2006.
- Sterrett, David (January 30, 2010). "Supervalu Inc. sees local growth potential for Jewel-Osco's discount sibling, Save-A-Lot". Crain Communications.
- "Save-A-Lot Unveils Partnership for Hispanic Stores". Supermarket News. July 21, 2010.
- Zwiebach, Elliot (September 13, 2010). "Save-A-Lot, Rite Aid to Test Co-Branded Stores". Supermarket News.
- "Supervalu announces additional store closures". Drug Store News. September 5, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- "Supervalu closing 22 Save-A-Lot stores". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 10, 2012.
- Solomont, E.B. (March 4, 2013). "Supervalu shakes up leadership of Save-A-Lot, Shop 'N Save". American City Business Journals.
- "Supervalu to Sell Save-A-Lot Chain to Onex for $1.37 Billion". Bloomberg News. October 17, 2016.