Though some retail companies are shuttering stores or going under completely, Sam's Club, Costco's biggest competitor, has plans to expand.
Thanks to "historic comparable sales growth" and a record rise in memberships during the last two years, Walmart, Sam's Club's parent company, plans to open at least 30 Sam's Club locations in the next several years. The first new store is slated to open in Florida in 2024, joining the retailer's 600 other locations.
The new stores are big: 160,000 square feet, to be exact. That's about 18% larger than Sam's existing stores, which average 136,000 square feet, and larger than Costco's average of 143,000 square feet. That extra space means more services and options for shoppers, and most new stores will include seafood and sushi islands near the meat department, full-service floral departments, and walk-in dairy and fresh-food coolers. Curbside pickup areas and fulfillment spaces will also expand.
@snackolator so many great new items at Sam's Club to start the year - what are you going to try? I grabbed the BBQ Doritos for a review but there are a bunch of these that I want to try out. These should all be in @samsclub nationwide. #samsclubfinds #samsclubfind #doritos #snacktok #newsnacks #newsnack #snacktime #junkfood #samsclubhaul #snackfinds ♬ Delicious Food - Mdstocksound
Plans for the new stores also call for them to dedicate more space for health care services, including waiting areas, private consultation rooms, and dedicated hearing and optical centers. Many of the new locations will also feature liquor sections and gas stations, depending on local laws.
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To support the new stores, Sam's Club is also building five fulfillment and distribution centers, the first of which is to open in Georgia this year. Along with technological advances and automation in the supply chain, the company hopes to be able to ship products to customers more quickly and avoid running out of products, keeping shelves stocked and carts full of rotisserie chickens and cases of Doritos.
Walmart's announcement to open the 30 new stores comes five years after it abruptly shut more than 60 Sam's Clubs across the country, as the company sought to "better align" its locations with its business strategy.