Discounter Save A Lot has flipped five corporate-owned stores near Washington, D.C., to a fuel and convenience store operator pivoting to discount supermarket retail.
AQS Foods LLC is now operating the transferred Save A Lot stores in Temple Hills, Forestville, Bladensburg, Oxon Hill and Seat Pleasant, Md. AQS’s owner, Qasim Warraich, has more than nine years of experience operating gas and convenience retail. AQS is based in Port Deposit, Md., where it owns a Lion Xpress convenience store.
“I’ve been interested in expanding into the grocery segment for some time and am very fortunate to be partnering with a strong national brand like Save A Lot,” Warraich said. “The D.C.-area locations are in strong neighborhoods with great potential for steady growth, and completely overhauling all stores in the near future will only contribute to that while providing a superior shopping experience for customers. As we begin to make the kind of changes shoppers can see and feel in-store, I’m confident we’ll continue to build a loyal following. I’m looking forward to taking on the new challenges that come with operating a neighborhood grocery store and especially in serving local residents.”
Warraich said he intends to work to tailor local assortments at each store and said he would remodel all five stores, inside and out, within the next year. He will oversee the unit’s existing management and employees.
Save A Lot is in the process of selling all but a handful of its corporate-owned stores near its St. Louis home base to new and existing independent licensees as it refashions as a wholesaler. Its deals have included the transfer of 51 units in Florida to Fresh Encounter and 17 stores in the Philadelphia area to Leever’s Supermarkets.
“We’re pleased to have Qasim join our Save A Lot team, bringing a passion for our customers and a strong commitment to growing the brand,” said Kenneth McGrath, CEO of Save A Lot. “Qasim is well-positioned to respond to the needs of the local community. We’re looking forward to working together and continuing to serve customers across the region.”
Founded in 1977, Save A Lot is a chain of about 1,000 stores in 32 states, and operates 13 wholesale distribution centers.