What is Sam's Club?

Alison McAdams
Alison McAdams
Big box stores can buy in bulk and offer lower prices to customers.
Big box stores can buy in bulk and offer lower prices to customers.

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.
Sam's Club sells food items in bulk at discounted prices.
Sam's Club sells food items in bulk at discounted prices.

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 caters to suburban grocery shoppers and small businesses.
Sam's Club caters to suburban grocery shoppers and small businesses.

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.

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Discussion Comments

anon107994

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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    • Big box stores can buy in bulk and offer lower prices to customers.
      By: 06photo
      Big box stores can buy in bulk and offer lower prices to customers.
    • Sam's Club sells food items in bulk at discounted prices.
      By: Robert Neff
      Sam's Club sells food items in bulk at discounted prices.
    • Sam's Club caters to suburban grocery shoppers and small businesses.
      By: Kirill Kedrinski
      Sam's Club caters to suburban grocery shoppers and small businesses.
    • As at other supermarkets, ensure that produce and other perishable items sold at Sam's Club and other warehouse stores are fresh and within their sell-by date.
      By: Art Allianz
      As at other supermarkets, ensure that produce and other perishable items sold at Sam's Club and other warehouse stores are fresh and within their sell-by date.