Supervalu Aims for 2,500 Save-A-Lot Stores

MINNEAPOLIS - Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Supervalu has announced that its Save-A-Lot extreme-value concept could someday have 2,500 locations, according to a report in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.

The company said it would announce specifics next month in its annual report.

However, Supervalu confirmed that Save-A-Lot will continue being its biggest and fastest engine for growth in years to come.

"We think it is a coast-to-coast, border-to-border opportunity," said Yolanda Scharton, VP of investor relations and corporate communications for the company.

Save-A-Lot and Germany-based Aldi Group, which has more than 600 stores in the United States, are considered the leaders in the category.

Heading into fiscal year 2003, Supervalu had 998 extreme-value stores in 36 states, according to the company's annual report. That was an increase of 297 stores in four years.

In April 2002, Supervalu announced that it would acquire St. Louis-based Deal$ - Nothing Over a Dollar, a similar concept that sells general retail merchandise. Later that month, the company opened its 1,000th Save-A-Lot store.

Since the acquisition closed last May, the company has been working to develop a new prototype store that incorporates Deal$' general merchandise into the Save-A-Lot stores. All Save-A-Lot stores opened from now on will include a mix of non-food items, Scharton said.

Sources said the Save-A-Lot expansion plans also will benefit from outside capital. Only about 25 percent of the stores are company-owned. The other 75 percent are operated by licensees.
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