Mergers & Acquisitions

Convenience Retailer Getting Into Grocery Business

AQS Foods purchases 5 Save A Lot stores
save a lot
Photograph: Shutterstock

WASHINGTON — AQS Foods LLC has acquired five company-operated Save A Lot grocery stores in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area from Save A Lot.

qasim warraich

AQS Foods is based in Port Deposit, Md. Owner and operator Qasim Warraich, with nine years of experience in operating gas stations and convenience stores in Oklahoma and Maryland, has five locations, including Lion Xpress, in Oklahoma City, and a truckstop in Pauls Valley, Okla.

With the purchase of discount grocer Save A Lot’s Washington, D.C.-area locations, Warraich extends his presence into the grocery business, bringing a commitment to growing the business locally through continued and expanded service to the community.

The five D.C.-area locations AQS Foods now operates are in Temple Hills, Forestville, Bladensburg, Oxon Hill and Seat Pleasant, Md.

These Save A Lot stores will continue serving the neighborhoods in which they operate. Warraich will work to customize each store’s assortment to the tastes and preferences of the neighborhood. Warraich also has plans to completely remodel all five stores within the next year. As owner, Warraich will oversee continued management of the stores, splitting his time each week across the five locations.

“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,” said Warraich. “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.”

For Save A Lot, the deal is part of the company’s efforts to convert its corporate-owned stores to local operation. Save A Lot is in the process of selling all but a handful of its corporate-owned stores near its St. Louis headquarters to new and existing independent licensees as it refashions itself as a wholesaler, according to a report by CSP sister publication Winsight Grocery Businessv. 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.”

Save A Lot focuses on offering everyday low prices on private-label brands as well as on national brand products, USDA-inspected meat, fresh fruits and vegetables and other non-food items.

Founded in 1977, Earth City, Mo.-based Save A Lot is one of the largest discount grocery store chains in the United States with approximately 1,000 stores in 32 states and 13 wholesale distribution centers. It is division of Moran Foods, a wholesale grocery distribution company specializing in private-brand procurement and supply.

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