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What is Sam's Club?

By Alison McAdams
Updated May 16, 2024
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Sam's Club is a members-only division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. that caters to suburban grocery shoppers and small businesses. Membership to the club entitles you to shop at any one of 500-plus Sam's Club warehouse-style stores across the U.S. for discounted brand-name items ranging from fresh food and clothes to electronics, auto supplies and home furniture.

The merchandise is often sold in bulk and economy sizes to ensure the high-volume sales needed to sustain a business with low profit margins. In addition, members are eligible to purchase services at discounted or group rates, including:

  • AOL internet service
  • auto repair insurance
  • a personal credit account
  • yellow pages advertising
  • printed checks
  • dental and health insurance
  • long distance phone service
  • mail-order pharmaceuticals
  • software training
  • package travel deals
  • access to boat and auto buying programs.

Joining the Club can be done at two levels: basic memberships are sold to valid city/state businesses, licensed professionals and the public; these regular memberships can be upgraded to a Plus Membership for additional benefits like roadside assistance and lower premiums on dental and health insurance. Standard memberships are about $35 per year, while Plus memberships cost $100 a year.

Sam's Club, its parent company, Wal-Mart, and its main competitor, Costco, Inc., belong to a group of nationwide chain stores commonly referred to as "big-box" retailers; these big-box stores offer a wide range of products and have immense dimensions. A typical Sam's Club warehouse encompasses between 110,000 and 130,000 square feet (10,300 - 12,000 square meters) of concrete floors and floor-to-ceiling steel racks stacked with merchandise.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Link to Sources

Discussion Comments

By anon107994 — On Sep 01, 2010

I am doing research on globalization and I am looking for Spain's equivalent to Walmart. What are the names of Spain's hyper mega Stores? I have found one or two but they seem to be French owned multi-national corporations. Is there one or for that fact any mega stores that are Spanish owned? Thanks and I look forward to further discussion on WiseGeek.com

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