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Sam's Club

Sam's West, Inc.
Industry Retailer local warehouse club
Founded 1982 (1982)
Midwest City, Oklahoma, U.S.
Headquarters Bentonville, Arkansas, U.S.
Number of locations
632 (U.S.) (FY 2014)[1]
38 (international)
Key people
Rosalind G. Brewer, President/CEO
Products Merchandise
Parent Walmart

Sam's West, Inc. (doing business as Sam's Club) is an American chain of membership-only retail warehouse clubs owned and operated by Walmart, founded in 1983 and named after Walmart founder Sam Walton. As of 2012, Sam's Club chain serves 47 million U.S. and Puerto Rican members and is the 8th largest U.S. retailer.[2] As of January 31, 2008, Sam's Club ranks second in sales volume among warehouse clubs with 57 billion in sales behind Costco, despite the fact that Sam's has more retail locations.[3]

Sam's Club had sales of $57.157 billion in FY 2014.[1] It reported a 0.3% sales increase in 2014, 4.1% in 2013, and 8.4% sales increase in 2012. This is significantly higher growth than Walmart U.S. stores, which did not have higher than 2% growth since 2010.[1]

Its major competitors are Costco and BJ's Wholesale Club.

As of January 31, 2014, Sam's Club operated 621 membership warehouse clubs in 48 U.S. states and Puerto Rico.[1] Oregon and Vermont are the only states where Sam's Club does not operate. It also operates 27 locations in Brazil[4] and 11 in China.[5] Locations generally range in size from 70,000–190,000 sq ft (6,500–17,700 m2), with an average club size of approximately 133,000 sq ft (12,400 m2).[6]

As of 2015, Walmart Mexico has more than 125 Sam's Club stores around the country. There was also Sam's Club in Canada, in which the last location closed in 2009.


  • History 1
  • Design 2
  • Sam's Business Center 3
  • Other retail formats 4
  • Membership 5
  • Payment options and store credit products 6
    • Payment options 6.1
    • Sam's Club credit 6.2
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


The first Sam's Club opened on April 7, 1983 in Midwest City, Oklahoma in the United States.[7]

In 1987, Sam's Club made its first acquisition by purchasing West Monroe, Louisiana-based SuperSaver Wholesale Warehouse Club; the purchase expanded the chain by 24 locations. The stores were owned by Alton Howard and his son John. John's daughter Korie later married Willie Robertson and became a regular cast member on Duck Dynasty.[8]

In 1989, Sam's entered New Jersey with a store in Delran in a former Two Guys / Jefferson Ward store. This was Walmart's first entry into the Northeast. The first Walmart discount store in New Jersey opened in 1991 in Turnersville. The company entered the Pennsylvania market in 1990.

In 1993, Walmart acquired PACE Membership Warehouse from Kmart and converted many (but not all) PACE locations into Sam's Clubs.

The latest flagship store opening as of September 13, 2007 was in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The largest Sam's Club store is located in Pineville, North Carolina with 185,000 sq ft (17,200 m2) of retail space that was formerly an Incredible Universe.

On September 24, 2006, Sam's Club received a new logo. The new logo has an updated serif font and features a green and blue diamond inside the big blue diamond, found above the word 'Sam's'.

Sam's Club's previous slogan was "We Are In Business For Small Business" until 2006; the decision to remove the slogan comes as Sam's Club attempts to remove itself from serving just small businesses and open up to more individual customers.

In December 2007. Sam's Club launched a new slogan, "Enjoy the Possibilities". Since then it became an official advertising slogan, mentioned in television and radio advertisements, but it is not mentioned on its website. As of January 2008, the "Enjoy the Possibilities" slogan was no longer in use. Sam's Club launched their latest slogan "Savings Made Simple" in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Starting in April 2007, there was speculation of a possible sale or spinoff of Sam's Club from parent company Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.[9][10] At Walmart's 2007 annual shareholder's meeting in June, management said that Sam's Club is not for sale, although they did not say they are not considering a spinoff.

On February 26, 2009, Walmart Canada announced that it would close all six of its Canadian Sam's Club locations.[11][12][13] This was part of Walmart Canada's decision to shift focus towards supercenter stores, but some industry observers suggested that the operation was struggling in competition with Costco and the non-membership The Real Canadian Superstore (known as Maxi & Cie in Quebec), that had a well-established history in the country. Sam's Club also rebranded the two as yet unopened locations as new Walmart Superstores.

In January 2010, it was announced that ten stores would be closed, including four in California. At the same time, Sam's will open six new stores at various locations in the United States.[14]

On January 24, 2010, it was announced that approximately 11,200 Sam's Club employees would be laid off. The layoffs resulted from the decision to outsource product sampling duties to an outside company (Rogers, Arkansas-based Shopper Events, which already performs in-store product demonstrations for Walmart) and to eliminate New Business Membership Representative positions throughout the chain. Most of the laid-off employees were part-time and represented about 10% of the total Sam's Club workforce.

Rosalind Brewer was named as the new CEO for Sam's Club, a change that came into effect on February 1, 2012.[15]

On January 24, 2014, it was announced that Wal-Mart will cut 2,300 jobs at the under performing Sam's Club locations.[16]


A Sam's Club store in Maplewood, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis
A Sam's Club store in Ciudad Lerdo, Durango
A Sam's Club store in Suzhou, China

Like other warehouse clubs, Sam's Club sells most of its merchandise in bulk and directly off pallets. The clubs are arranged much like warehouses, with merchandise stocked in warehouse-style steel bins. Products sold include jewelry, designer goods, sunglasses, crystal and collectibles, electronics, floral, apparel, food and meats. Most locations have Pharmacy, Tire and Battery, Photo, Bakery, Optical, Café and Floral departments. Sam's Club markets items under the private labels Simply Right (Formerly Member's Mark), Bakers & Chefs, Daily Chef, and Sam's Club — including products by Richelieu Foods,[17] a private label manufacturer of frozen pizza, salad dressing, sauces, marinades, condiments and deli salads. Sam's Club does not sell the Sam's Choice or Great Value brands, that are available in Walmart stores. However, Sam's Club is changing some of the Member's Mark items, such as baby wipes to the name Simply Right. The Member's Mark Deli products is also changing names to Artisan Fresh. Another notable feature in most locations is the presence of stands at which Shopper Events employees prepare various food products for members to sample before purchasing.

Sam's Business Center

Sam's Club opened their first Business Center in Houston, Texas, in August 2008. Converted from an existing Sam's location, the Business Center is similar in concept to Costco's Business Centers.

In January 2010, the company announced it would be closing its Business Center, along with nine other clubs across the United States.[18]

Other retail formats

In Houston, Sam's Club opened Más Club in August 2009,[19] a club geared towards the Hispanic population. Membership in Más Club was separate from membership in Sam's Club. It closed in February 2014.


Membership is required to purchase at Sam's Club (except at the cafe and pharmacy where federal law prohibits sales of prescription drugs to members only, as well as liquor and gasoline in some states); however, a one-time day pass may be obtained from many Walmart newspaper ads. A 10% surcharge is added (except where forbidden by local laws) to the prices for non-members, except for optical, pharmacy, cafe, or alcohol items where available. All memberships fees are 100% guaranteed at any point of time in the membership tenure.

Renewal of memberships can be done via the internet, through the mail, in-club at the Membership Services desk, any cash register, and also at the new ATM/Membership kiosks (the latter only available in select locations).

In the United States, Sam's Club memberships are divided into three categories: Business, Savings and Plus, each with an annual fee. Sam's Plus is the most comprehensive membership plan, that includes Cash Rewards and extra savings in Pharmacy and Optometry. [20]

Payment options and store credit products

A Sam's Club in California.
Some Sam's Clubs in U.S. include gas stations
Shelves of Sam's Club in Suzhou, China

Payment options

Sam's Club locations accept Sam's Club and Walmart credit cards,[21] Discover Card, MasterCard,[22] debit cards (PIN-based, except MasterCard, which also can be signature-based), Walmart and Sam's Club gift cards, cash or checks. As of March 2009 EBT SNAP benefits are accepted.[23] MasterCard was added as an option on November 9, 2006. Visa credit cards are not accepted, except at gas stations, because of the high processing fees compared with Walmart's discounted rates with MasterCard,[24] although in the past it was accepted during testing periods.[25] However Visa debit cards are not accepted at some clubs. American Express is accepted form 1 October 2015. Their online website,, accepts MasterCard or Discover Card. Sams club did not accept Discover card until 2008. (McKibben, 2008)

Sam's Club credit

Sam's Club offers store credit lines to individuals and businesses linked to the member's membership card. As of June 2014, Sam's Club discontinued offering the Sam's Discover card and now offers a Sam's Club MasterCard Card that can be used at Sam's Club and anywhere Mastercards are accepted. Sam's Club MasterCard offers a cash back program of 5% (Up to $6,000 a year then 1% thereafter) on gasoline, 3% on dining and travel and 1% on all other purchases. Sam's Club is also the first merchant in the United States to offer EMV (Europay/MasterCard/Visa) chip-enabled cards.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Five–Year Financial Summary - 2014 Annual Report" (PDF) (Press release). Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  2. ^ "Sam's Club Corporate Facts 2012" (PDF) (Press release). Retrieved May 7, 2012. 
  3. ^ "Costco Wholesale company profile".  
  4. ^ "Walmart Corporate - Brazil". Retrieved 17 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Welcome to Wal-Mart China
  6. ^ "Walmart FY 2009 Annual Report" ( 
  7. ^ "Sam's Club celebrates 25th anniversary with nationwide open house" (Press release). Sam's Club. April 10, 2007. 
  8. ^ Willie and Korie Robertson with Mark Schlabach, The Duck Commander Family. West Monroe, LA: Howard Books (owned by Simon & Schuster, 2013, p. 33
  9. ^ Otte, Timothy M. (May 7, 2007). "Spinoff in Bentonville Revisited".  
  10. ^ Otte, Timothy M. (April 17, 2007). "A Spinoff in Bentonville?".  
  11. ^ Georgiades, Andy (February 26, 2009). "Walmart Canada to Close Sam's Club Division".  
  12. ^ "Walmart Canada to close six Ontario Sam's Club locations to focus on supercenter expansion" (Press release).  
  13. ^ Flavelle, Dana (February 26, 2009). "Walmart to close all Canadian Sam's Club stores".  
  14. ^ "Sam's Club to close 10 stores, four in California".  
  15. ^ "Walmart names Rosalind Brewer as Sam's Club CEO, first woman to hold CEO position".  
  16. ^ "Wal-Mart to Lay Off 2,300 Sam's Club Employees". The Wall Street Journal. January 24, 2014. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Richelieu experiences hiring boom, starts expansion".  
  18. ^ "Sam's Club Closing Houston Location". 
  19. ^ "Más Club Opens August 6 in Houston" (Press release). Sam's Club. July 21, 2009. 
  20. ^ "Sam's Club Application". 
  21. ^ Review of Walmart Credit Card
  22. ^ "Sam's Club opens door to MasterCard payments".  
  23. ^ "Does Sam's Club accept SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) cards?". 
  24. ^ Pricing, Retailing Rivalry Likely Led to Sam's Club's MasterCard Deal
  25. ^ "Sam's Club Will Stop Accepting Visa And Mastercard Credit Cards April 21". Cardline. April 16, 2004. Retrieved November 27, 2009. 

External links

  • Official website
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