Sam's Club Is Opening 30+ New Stores and Making Major Changes, CEO Says
The company is planning its most aggressive expansion in years.
Shoppers are looking for more ways to pinch pennies these days as sky-high prices refuse to come down in stores across the U.S. And thanks to the opportunity for bulk buying, Sam's Club is one of the best known options for saving money. But if you don't have a Sam's Club near you, don't worry. The warehouse retailer just announced new plans for a major expansion, which could bring one of its clubs to your neck of the woods. Read on to find out more about Sam's Club's goal to open over 30 new stores, and other changes the company is planning.
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Sam's Club has been faring well amid inflation.
Over the last year, record-high inflation in the U.S. has hit many retailers hard. But membership-based warehouses like Sam's Club have fared well throughout the turmoil.
In 2022, the Walmart-owned retailer saw foot traffic and sales rise, according to Business Insider. And Kath McLay, CEO of Sam's Club, told CNBC in a new interview that its offerings have become even more relevant over the recent months, as prices remain high across the board.
"During times like inflation, times when people have pressure on their household budget, it's a time when Sam's Club can really show up," McLay said in the Jan. 26 interview. "So I think the time is really right for us."
Now, Sam's Club is responding to its recent success with aggressive new plans.
The retailer is planning to open more stores.
After experiencing a significant rise in sales and membership numbers at its existing clubs, McLay told CNBC that Sam's Club is now looking to reach even more customers. She said the warehouse retailer is planning to open more than than 30 new stores throughout the U.S.
As part of this expansion, the next Sam's Club store expected to open will be in Florida in 2024, CNBC reported. The company is also set to open five fulfillment and distribution centers this year, with the first opening in Georgia.
Overall, Sam's Club plans to build about 30 clubs over the next five years, with even more expected to follow in the two years after that, according to McLay. "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," the CEO said in a Jan. 26 statement.
This will be Sam's Club's biggest expansion in years.
Sam's Club currently has 600 clubs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. But it hasn't opened a new club in years, according to CNBC. Its last major expansion took place in the 2010s, when it was opening an average of about five to 10 stores each year, the news outlet reported. The most recent Sam's Club opening was its Hanover, Pennsylvania location in 2017.
In 2018, the company actually shuttered 63 of its stores around the U.S. "After a thorough review of our existing portfolio, we've decided to close a series of clubs and better align our locations with our strategy," Sam's Club said at the time. "Closing clubs is never easy."
But since then, the retailer has been thriving—allowing it to finally plan its most aggressive expansion in years.
"The decision to invest in expanding its physical footprint was motivated by historic comparable sales growth, and a record rise in membership over the last two years," the company wrote in the press release. "Sam's Club has continued to prioritize products and services that drive shopping trips and demonstrate the value of membership."
The retailer is also planning to make major changes.
Sam's Club isn't just opening up new clubs that look the same as its existing stores.
"As we open new clubs in new locations, we'll continue to innovate," McLay said. The company has been redesigning many of its existing stores over the last few years to make them "brighter, easier to navigate, and more functional," but the new stores are expected to come with even more changes.
"The new clubs will be approximately 160,000 square feet, larger than most current locations. Most new clubs will feature a seafood/sushi island, full-service floral, and walk-in dairy and fresh coolers," Sam's Club explained in its press release. "Additionally, members will benefit from a larger healthcare space inclusive of a patient waiting area, health services suites, private consultation rooms, and dedicated hearing and optical centers. Many of the new locations will also include fuel stations and liquor offerings."