Sam’s Club and Small Business: What Is Wal-Mart Thinking?



Sam’s Club may be one of Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s (NYSE:WMT) keys to long-term success following recent trends away from big box stores; according to FierceRetail, the company is on track to become a $100B business. Sam’s Club is expecting to double its sales.

The company is a Costco-style membership only wholesale retailer owned and operated by Wal-Mart, and currently accounts for approximately 12 percent of Wal-Mart’s total sales, according to CEO Rosalind Brewer, who appeared on CBS This Morning to talk about the business. The company is looking ahead and hoping to grow much, much bigger in upcoming years.

The company sees potential for growth in its online business, according to the FierceRetail report, and believes that digital sales could comprise as much as 20 percent of the retailers’ total business. “Currently, you can buy online and pick up in-club and have your delivery ready for you when you’re there. We think that there is more work to be done in that space where we combine what happens online and what happens in our club.”

Many of those customers looking for the added convenience of ordering online are likely microbusiness owners, Sam’s Club says, and the retailer is hoping to gain a better understanding of small businesses it needs in order to better accommodate them as the retailer continues to expand.

As a result, Sam’s Club has recently unveiled its new “microbusiness tracker,” a quarterly tracking poll that focuses specifically on small businesses. FierceRetail notes that there are currently more than 25 billion microbusinesses in the U.S., each employing less than 500 people and bringing in $50,000 or less each year.

“Sam’s Club has served microbusiness members for more than 30 years,” Brewer said. “We’re always conducting research with members to understand their needs and concerns. These are issues important for our member base and we want to know what’s happening in their space,” she added.

Sam’s Club has made the quarterly tracking poll public in the hopes that the resulting information will prove helpful to microbusiness owners; the survey was undertaken in partnership with Gallup and will continue to be released on a quarterly basis, FierceRetail reports.