Wal-Mart Debuts New Más Club Format in Houston

Wal-Mart Stores opened its first Más Club in Houston this month, touting the new banner as a Sam's Club-style source for a variety of products and services appealing to Hispanic consumers. The 143,000-square-foot space is divided into two sections, one for traditional members and another area especially for businesses buying in bulk. The business area includes 500 shelf-stable items in 30,000 square

HOUSTON — Wal-Mart Stores opened its first Más Club here this month, touting the new banner as a Sam's Club-style source for a variety of products and services appealing to Hispanic consumers.

The 143,000-square-foot space is divided into two sections, one for traditional members and another area especially for businesses buying in bulk. The business area includes 500 shelf-stable items in 30,000 square feet of space. The store includes about 4,000 items in total, including such international brands as Badia, Minsa, Dela Rosa and La Huerta.

Membership costs $30 per year, vs. $40 at traditional Sam's Clubs. Sam's Club memberships will not be accepted at the Más Club.

“Houston has a very diverse population, and we will be able to better serve the metro area by focusing our efforts on specialized merchandise and solutions at this club,” said David Galvan, manager of the store, in a prepared statement. “Now, we are going to be able to offer an expanded assortment of Hispanic products at a great value.”

The Más Club — “más” is the Spanish word for “more” — includes a tortilleria, a selection of Mexican-style pastries and other ethnic offerings, including full-service meat and seafood counters. It also has a cafe with traditional Hispanic food and beverage offerings and an outdoor seating area. Menu items include fajitas de res, barbacoa flautas de res and picadillo carne guisada.

The store also offers an outdoor space for shopping and market-style activities, where it will host weekend events. Items offered in the outdoor area will include pottery and produce.

The store's signs are in Spanish, with English translations, reports said.

Among the services offered are a health clinic and a Barri money-transfer center.

The Más Club offers a more limited selection of appliances and electronics than a typical Sam's, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“There is an opportunity for Sam's Club to expand its membership base through Más Club,” Kenny Folk, Sam's Club senior vice president of new business development, was quoted as saying in the newspaper. “We expect Más Club to evolve as we get to know our members better.”

Wal-Mart has not yet announced any further plans for additional Más Club locations.

The opening follows closely the conversion earlier this year of two Neighborhood Market stores — Wal-Mart's traditional supermarket banner — to a new Hispanic-themed format, called Supermercado de Wal-Mart. The first of those also opened in Houston, followed by another in the Phoenix area.