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Save A Lot Completes Wholesale Model Transition

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St. Louis, Missouri-based Save A Lot, one of the largest discount grocery chains in the U.S., has completed its relicensing program and its transition to a wholesale model. This follows the sale of nearly 300 corporate-operated locations to retail partners, that will continue to operate the stores under the Save A Lot brand.

“Becoming a wholesaler was an important step in Save A Lot’s mission to lead as the brand of choice for value-oriented consumers, putting the company on an entirely new financial trajectory,” said Mark Hutchens, EVP and CFO.

“Since its inception, Save A Lot has filled an important need as an affordable, high quality hometown grocer in each community it serves. This relicensing program positions our company to better serve our retail partners as they support their customers and communities. We’ve entered 2022 with strong momentum and improved financials that will help fuel the growth of the business in the years ahead.”

The completion of the transition dovetails with the company’s recent appointment of new CEO Leon Bergmann, who joins on Feb. 21. The Shelby Report‘s story on the recent appointment can be found here.

“Incoming CEO Leon Bergmann brings significant wholesale and grocery experience that is ideally suited to lead this model,” said Justin Shaw, chairman of the board. “The board and management team are excited for this next chapter of growth for the Save A Lot business and to support the entrepreneurial ambitions of all our dedicated retail partners.”

In total, the company completed 34 transactions by selling corporate-operated locations outside of St. Louis to local operating groups. Operators taking ownership of the stores include a number of existing Save A Lot retailers such as Fresh Encounter Inc., the Janes Group, Leevers Supermarkets Inc. and Save Philly Stores, who added 51, 18, 17 and 14 stores to their portfolios, respectively.

Additionally, Save A Lot welcomed 15 new ownership groups, including Yellow Banana, a portfolio company of 127 Wall Holdings, which purchased 38 stores across five states, and Ascend Grocery, which purchased 33 locations in Florida. The company retains 18 stores in its home market of St. Louis as a test market for new innovations and programs.

With approximately 900 stores in 32 states, Save A Lot believes that operating a pure wholesale model will provide retail partners with the flexibility necessary to respond to the needs of the local communities they serve. Owners are able to customize their assortment to cater to the tastes and preferences of their individual customers.

Through an emphasis on serving and supporting its retail partners, Save A Lot has built a sustainable, high-growth and community-focused business while remaining true to its mission of providing unmatched value to its customers. Recent store conversions have been met with enthusiasm by customers and media within the local communities they serve.

The relicensing effort builds on the company’s ongoing efforts to modernize, working with its independent license owners to remodel all stores by 2024. The new store design reflects the contemporary evolution of the brand with a lighter, brighter and easier-to-shop footprint that includes new décor and an enhanced shopping environment. Retail partners completed remodels of 200 Save A Lot stores in 2021.

“Save A Lot’s momentum is built through our strong retail partner network, whose commitment to our brand and the consumers that we serve is unmatched in the industry,” Hutchens said. “We are proud to share our success with these dedicated owners who are incredibly passionate about providing the best Save A Lot experience to their neighborhood customers.”

The transition also incorporates a series of business and brand development efforts by the company. The campaign featured a music video that has received over six million views on YouTube and other social media platforms.

It also included a refresh of Save A Lot’s logo and updated packaging for more than 55 private brands carried at Save A Lot locations, adding new color and personality across all channels.

For more information, visit SaveALot.com.

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