TIGARD, Ore. - Save-A-Lot will enter Idaho for the first time in the next 12 to 18 months, Bill Shaner, president and chief executive officer, said at Portland State University's Food Industry Leadership Center Executive Conference this month.
The limited-assortment chain, a wholly owned subsidiary of Supervalu, Minneapolis, operates stores in 42 of the 48 contiguous states.
The other states where it does not have stores are North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Nebraska and Utah, and there are no plans to enter those regions, Shaner said.
Save-A-Lot made its debut in the Pacific Northwest within the past few weeks, with two stores in Oregon and two in Washington, "and we see the potential for 80 to 100 stores in this area," he said.
The company opened a distribution center earlier this year in Forest Grove, Ore., and Shaner said it has its eye on about 19 more locations in the Pacific Northwest that it could open over the next nine to 12 months; it also plans to open 15 stores in California this year.
Save-A-Lot intends to boost expansion, after a couple of years when it reinvested in remodeling rather than new-store growth, Shaner said, with 80 new stores scheduled to open this year, including 45 corporately owned units and 35 that will be independently owned.
More than 1,000 of the 1,175 Save-A-Lots operate east of the Mississippi, "but we see tremendous growth opportunities along the West Coast," he added.
While most existing stores are fairly homogeneous, "that doesn't play as well anymore as it once did," Shaner said, "and we need to market on a more local, targeted basis, which we think is a big opportunity going forward."
Shaner also said Save-A-Lot plans to add more convenience items this year, including single-serve soda, water and various snack foods.