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Sam’s Club develops small-format concept

Dallas-area location to focus on convenience, digital and food

Sam’s Club is building a smaller-format store centered on convenience and a digital experience, with the product selection focusing on consumables.

Jamie Iannone, chief executive officer of and executive vice president of membership and technology, said the 32,000-square-foot club will be in the lower Greenville section of Dallas. Work on the project is getting under way, and Sam’s Club aims to open the store this fall.

“While this will be a membership club like all Sam’s Club locations, this club will be designed to help us innovate and improve our member experience. The focus will be on making shopping with us even easier through a more digital experience,” Iannone (left) said in a blog post, citing fast membership signup, easier returns, digital signage throughout the store and Scan & Go checkout. “This will be smaller than a typical club, which is perfect for testing innovations in a live shopping environment. You can expect to see a new level of convenience at this facility, and the technologies we use will continue to evolve.”

The format will feature a limited number of items catering to the surrounding community. The total SKU count is pegged at 1,000 to 2,000.

“Beyond the convenience and the smaller size, the other key difference will be the assortment of items we offer,” Iannone said. “We’ll lean heavily into grocery and fresh food items such as grab-and-go meals, the consumable items members buy most frequently and services like fast, same-day Club Pickup and delivery options that will help busy families.”

Iannone announced the new concept the same day that Sam’s opened a new e-commerce fulfillment center in Memphis, Tenn.

The facility is the first in a series of conversions of former clubs across the country. Other areas being considered for these fulfillment centers include Texas, central Florida, the Mid-Atlantic, Southern California, Chicagoland and the Northeast.

Sam’s said the 135,000-square-foot Memphis fulfillment center is situated five miles from a major regional shipping hub and will expedite delivery of members’ online orders in the region. The retailer noted that the Memphis facility and the network of additional smaller centers will enable next-day or two-day shipping to most members.

The Walmart wholesale club chain unveiled plans to create the e-commerce fulfillment centers in January, when it announced the closure of 63 clubs. Up to 12 of those club locations are slated to be converted to fulfillment centers.  

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