NEW YORK (AP) — Walmart said Thursday it plans to open more than 30 Sam's Club locations in the next few years, marking the first expansion since 2017.
The nation's largest retailer, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, plans to open the first Sam's Club location as part of the expansion next year in Florida. Sam's Club is also modernizing its distribution network. Sam's Club will launch five new supply chain fulfillment and distribution centers, with the first location planned in Georgia later this year.
The last new Sam's Club location opened in in Hanover, Pennsylvania.
The move comes as Walmart's Sam's Club division has enjoyed strong sales growth and a record rise in membership over the past two years. For the latest quarter ended Oct. 28, sales at stores opened at least a year rose 10% for Sam's Clubs. For the company's namesake stores, that figure was up 8.2%.
Warehouse clubs including Costco Wholesale Corp. and BJ's Wholesale Club have been a bright spot in the retail industry but resonated even more during the early part of the pandemic when shoppers were loading up essentials as they stayed close to home. Given rising gas prices and surging inflation in food, shoppers have been turning to warehouse clubs in search of better deals.
Over the past several years, Sam's Club has redesigned the majority of its 600 clubs, making them brighter and easier to navigate. The brand has expanded its shopping technology like Scan & Go, a mobile app that allows shoppers to scan merchandise and check-out without going to the cashier line.
The new clubs will be approximately 160,000 square feet, larger than most existing locations which are roughly 140,000 square feet. Most of the new clubs will feature a sushi island, a full-service floral area and dedicated hearing and optical centers.