- Save A Lot is selling its remaining corporate-operated locations to Leevers Supermarkets in a deal that marks the completion of the discount grocery chain’s transition to an entirely wholesale business model, according to a Monday press release.
- Leevers will add the 18 St. Louis-area Save A Lot stores it is acquiring to its existing fleet of supermarkets, which includes Save A Lot locations in the Denver and Philadelphia regions.
- Save A Lot has been incrementally transferring ownership of its stores to local operating groups as part of a multi-year effort to strengthen its operations and better serve customers.
Save A Lot’s decision to sell the last grocery stores in its portfolio follows the company’s announcement in February 2022 that it would retain the locations as testing grounds even as it sold hundreds of other stores to local operating groups.
Going forward, Save A Lot intends to work with retail partners such as Leevers to put “new innovations and programs” through their stores before rolling them out chainwide, the company said Monday.
In a statement, Save A Lot CEO Leon Bergmann, who assumed leadership of the company early last year, said the grocer had concluded that the “time was right for us to step fully into our role as a licensed wholesaler and put all operations in the hands of our dedicated retailers.”
“Since its inception, Save A Lot has filled an important need as a discount, high quality hometown grocer in each community it serves. Our Retail Partners are closest to and best positioned to meet the needs of those customers,” Bergmann said in the Monday announcement.
Leevers plans to operate the St. Louis stores under the Save A Lot brand, according to the announcement. The retailer, based in Castle Rock, Colorado, already runs 29 Save A Lot stores in Colorado and the Mid-Atlantic region.
Based in St. Louis, Save A Lot counts more than 800 stores in 32 states and says it is the largest independently owned and operated discount grocery store chain in the United States.
The company has been working since late 2020 to convert into a wholesaler, agreeing to sell stores to independent ownership groups through more than 30 transactions. In addition to Leevers, enterprises that have acquired Save A Lot stores include Fresh Encounter, the Janes Group, Save Philly Stores, Yellow Banana and Ascend Grocery.
Save A Lot has also taken steps to remodel its stores, and said last year that it intended to work with its retail partners to renovate all locations carrying its banner by 2024. The improvements include wider aisles, newer decor and improved lighting.
The company has also sought to focus shopper attention on its role as a discounter. Last year, the company unveiled a marketing campaign designed to position its private brands as better choices than national brands.