Sam’s Club Raises Membership Fee for the First Time in 9 Years
Walmart-owned Sam’s Club said Wednesday it will raise its annual fees this fall, as the warehouse club’s membership hovers at a record high and inflation-pinched shoppers seek deals on bulk items. Fees will increase to $50 from $45 for club members and to $110 from $100 for members of its higher-tier level, “Plus,” which includes some additional perks. The changes take effect Oct. 17. This marks the first fee hike in nine years for the entry-level membership. Sam’s Club hasn't raised the price of the “Plus” membership since it debuted in 1999. The increase brings Sam’s closer in price to rival Costco, which charges $60 a year for its basic membership and $120 for its higher-tier “Gold” membership.
Total Retail's Take: With inflationary pressures causing consumers to tighten their belts, certain segments of the retail industry, including dollar stores, warehouse clubs, and off-price chains, are thriving. Seeking to capitalize on the momentum its seeing in membership gains, Sam's Club is raising its annual membership rates. However, this is just the first increase in the last nine years, so members don't have too much grumble about.
In addition, Walmart is trying to optimize one of its most valuable assets. Sales growth at Sam's Club is outpacing other parts of Walmart’s business. Same-store sales at Sam’s Club grew 9.5 percent in the most recently reported quarter vs. 6.5 percent at Walmart U.S.