Sam’s Club to build 30 new clubs, expand fulfillment network

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 2,416 views 

Sam’s Club, the warehouse club division owned and operated by Walmart Inc., announced Thursday (Jan. 26) plans to build 30 new U.S. locations. A timeline was not disclosed, but Sam’s Club CEO Kath McLay said the new clubs will be 160,000 square feet, which is larger than most existing locations, and have more health and food service space.

The retailer said the first expanded location will open in Florida by 2024. The larger footprint will make space for a seafood/sushi island, a full-service floral department, and walk-in coolers for dairy and fresh foods. More space will also be allocated for health services to accommodate a patient waiting area, serve suites, private consultation rooms, and dedicated hearing and optical centers. Plans also include more liquor offerings and fuel stations.

As Sam’s e-commerce business also continues to grow, the retailer plans to provide more space for curbside pickup, delivery and ship-to-home orders in the new clubs.

“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. 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,” McLay noted in the release.

McLay said there are also plans to build five new fulfillment centers, with the first to open in Georgia later the year. The new centers will support Sam’s Club’s growth. The company plans to modernize its supply chain with more automation and robotics for speed and efficiency.

“We have an opportunity to place ourselves on the cutting edge of efficiency and automation, unique to our business model,” said Joseph Godsey, senior vice president 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.”

He said the investment in infrastructure and automation will allow clubs and members to become closer to a supply chain facility, allowing for faster replenishment of clubs and more efficient order fulfillment for members.

Sam’s Club, on its own, would be among the top 10 largest U.S. retailers by sales, with gross revenue of $73.6 billion last year. By revenue, Sam’s is bigger than Best Buy, more than twice the size of Dollar General, TJX and Aldi. It’s about three times bigger than Macy’s and Dollar Tree and four times bigger than Kohl’s. Sam’s e-commerce business grew to $6.9 billion last year, which is on par with total sales of Bass Pro Shops or Bath & Body Works, according to the National Retail Federation data.

Sam’s operates 600 clubs around the U.S. and Puerto Rico in its 39th year of business.