Sam’s Club Plans to Open Dozens of New, Bigger Stores

The Walmart-owned wholesale club chain will open the first new store in Florida next year and the rest during the next “several years.”
A rending showing a new Sam's Club store.
  • Sam’s Club will expand, opening more than 30 larger stores during the next several years.
  • The new clubs will offer more space dedicated to omnichannel customers and larger health care space.
  • The retailer also plans to modernize its supply chain, adding new fulfillment centers and updating existing ones.  

Sam’s Club this week said it would open more than two-dozen new stores during the next several years.

In a Jan. 26 release, the Walmart-owned wholesale club chain said the first new location would open next year in Florida. Sam’s Club said the decision to open 30 new clubs followed “historic comparable sales growth and a record rise in membership” during the past two years. 

“We’ve seen remarkable growth over the past few years with a record number of members, and we’re excited to bring the experience of Sam’s Club to even more markets as we expand our footprint,” said Kathryn McLay, Sam’s Club CEO, in the release. “And as we open new clubs in new locations, we’ll continue to innovate so that our members shop and save whether in person or online.”

The new Sam’s Club locations will be larger than its existing stores, the retailer said. The new clubs will be approximately 160,000 square feet. The extra space will allow for a seafood/sushi island, a full-service floral space, walk-in dairy and fresh coolers, which most of the new stores will have, according to the release. The stores also will house a larger health care area that includes a waiting space for patients, health services suites, private consultation rooms, and hearing and optical centers. Numerous retailers are upping their investments in the health care space, including Amazon and Dollar General, which also announced new health care initiatives this month. 

Also key to the new store layout is a larger area for omnichannel fulfillment, Sam’s Club said. The new area will include space for curbside pickup, delivery to home and ship-from-club orders, according to the retailer. The spaces will have walk-in coolers and expanded doors to enhance truck efficiency.

Sam’s Club’s move to create more space for its omnichannel shoppers follows other retailers who have added or converted existing space to help fulfill online orders. For example, Target last year announced it would focus on larger footprint stores in the coming years, in part, to increase fulfillment space for omnichannel orders. Macy’s last year converted existing space at stores across the country into “mini” distribution centers to reduce shipping costs and better use inventory. 

The decision to open 30 new stores follows Walmart’s decision to shutter more than double that amount of Sam’s Club locations in 2018. The retailer at the time said it would turn 10 of the 63 closing stores into distribution centers.

Sam’s Club also announced supply chain improvements as part of the broader expansion effort. The multi-year effort involves a new network of distribution and fulfillment centers across the country, the first being a new location opening in Georgia in the third quarter of this year. The retailer will also retrofit existing centers with automation and greater physical and digital capabilities, according to the release. 

“We have an opportunity to place ourselves on the cutting edge of efficiency and automation, unique to our business model,” said Joseph Godsey, Sam’s Club’s senior vice president of supply chaint, in the release. “The most exciting thing, though, will be when the member sees and feels the enhancements… and loves us even more.”