Save-A-Lot To Take On HEB and W-M

Jan 06, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

San Antonio has only seemed big enough for two grocery store competitors in recent years.

There’s H.E. Butt and Wal-Mart Supercenters and, if you’re store isn’t flying under one of those retailers’ banners, you might as well turn around and leave.

Now there’s a new entrant to the market that doesn’t think three makes a crowd because it believes it fills a unique niche the others are not.

Save-A-Lot, Supervalu’s limited assortment grocery format, under a franchise to Ahrens Foods, is opening in San Antonio and it has a track record of holding up well against the likes of Wal-Mart in other markets.

David Orgel of Supermarket News told the San Antonio Express-News, “In a tough economy (Save-A-Lot) will attract more customers with good pricing. They have been very successful in the United States and there’s no ignoring their success.”

Mark Ahrens, general manager of Ahrens Foods Inc., sees low prices and convenience as Save-A-Lot’s primary selling point with consumers, “We have a limited assortment, it’s quick in and out, it’s convenient and we have everyday low prices. For a lot of people, a smaller store is a better thing.”

Moderator’s Comment: Why will Save-A-Lot succeed (or not) in the San Antonio market?

H.E. Butt and Wal-Mart represent anywhere from 85 to 90 percent of the grocery business done in San Antonio. Save-A-Lot may never take major share away
from HEB or W-M. What it will do is make money.
Anderson – Moderator

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