Walmart-owned Sam’s Club is making big plans for the next several years, including opening 30 locations and modernizing its supply chain through new distribution and fulfillment centers with cutting-edge automation. The first new store is slated to open in Florida in 2024, while the latest fulfillment center is planned for third quarter in Georgia.
Sam’s Club is making the investment in new stores and fulfillment operations based on historic comparable sales growth and two years of record increases in membership. The retailer has also invested in its existing stores over the past several years with improved member service desks, as well as redesigns that made its locations brighter, easier to navigate and more functional.
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“We've seen remarkable growth over the past few years with a record number of members, and we're excited to bring the experience of Sam’s Club to even more markets as we expand our footprint,” said Sam’s Club CEO Kathryn McLay. “And as we open new clubs in new locations, we’ll continue to innovate so that our members shop and save whether in person or online.”
The new Sam’s Club locations will be larger than most existing stores at 160,000 square feet, and most will feature a seafood and sushi island, full-service floral, and walk-in dairy and fresh coolers. They will also include a larger health care space with a patient waiting area, health services suites, private consultation rooms, and dedicated hearing and optical centers.
Omnichannel fulfillment will also be built into the new stores, with a dedicated space for curbside pickup, delivery to home and ship-from-club orders. The retailer will also focus on sustainability with its new builds, to include zero emission strategies through electrification of equipment, including electric ovens, HVAC equipment, water heating systems and low emissions refrigeration systems. In addition, the company will install energy efficient LED lighting, electric vehicle charging stations for delivery vehicles and new green refrigerant.
According to Sam’s Club, upgrades to the company’s evolving supply chain network and end-to-end capabilities will enable noticeable increases in member experience and service times. Sam's Club will add numerous automated facilities to its supply chain network over the next several years, and will also retrofit several existing facilities for more enhanced physical and digital capabilities.
"We have an opportunity to place ourselves on the cutting edge of efficiency and automation, unique to our business model," said Joseph Godsey, SVP of supply chain at Sam's Club. "The most exciting thing, though, will be when the member sees and feels the enhancements … and loves us even more."
For its third quarter of fiscal 2023, Sam’s Club comp sales increased 10.0% and 23.9% on a two-year stacks, and membership income rose 8.0%, with member count reaching an all-time high.
Sam’s Club, a division of Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart Inc., operates nearly 600 clubs in the United States and Puerto Rico. Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries, with approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America, while Sam’s Club ranks eighth.