business news in context, analysis with attitude

The St. Louis Business Journal reports that "Save A Lot, the St. Ann-based discount grocer, has divested its remaining corporate-owned stores, all of which were in the St. Louis area.

"The grocer, which previously operated a mix of corporate-owned and licensed stores, began shifting to a model in 2020 in which a majority of its stores are independently owned. Save A Lot until now had retained ownership of its St. Louis stores, saying they would serve as testing grounds for new ideas.

"The company said Monday that it has re-licensed its remaining 18 company-operated stores, all in the St. Louis area, finalizing its shift to begin a licensed wholesaler serving independent stores licensees.

"The locations are being acquired by Leevers Supermarkets Inc., a current Save A Lot licensee with 29 stores in markets including Denver and Philadelphia."

“As we’ve made a strategic shift to become a licensed wholesaler, it’s clear that our long-term growth momentum must be rooted in the success of our strong network of Retail Partners,” Save A Lot CEO Leon Bergmann said in a press release.  "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.”

KC's View:

Finally.  Save A Lot has been looking for a corporate retail strategy for years, unable - for a variety of reasons - to land on something that would satisfy all parties.  In the end, the best strategy was to get out of retailing completely and become a wholesaler, leaving it to largely small and independent retailers to figure out the differentiation and relevance equation in an increasingly competitive marketplace.