Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

jamcool
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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by jamcool » January 11th, 2018, 3:25 pm

Yet Costco has the lousiest check-out system ever..at least Sam's has self-scan checkout (and takes all credit cards-even foreign ones like JCB)

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by buckguy » January 11th, 2018, 5:58 pm

Sam's posted better same-store sales gains than regular WalMarts this year, but otherwise their performance has been lackluster for a long time. I wondered when WalMart might sell the operation. It will be interesting to see which stores will remain as fulfillment centers, perhaps that's the role they see for these in the future.

Costco has had self-checkouts in the past in at least a small number of stores, but for whatever reason they converted them to staffed check-outs.

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by Super S » January 11th, 2018, 7:45 pm

buckguy wrote:
January 11th, 2018, 5:58 pm
Sam's posted better same-store sales gains than regular WalMarts this year, but otherwise their performance has been lackluster for a long time. I wondered when WalMart might sell the operation. It will be interesting to see which stores will remain as fulfillment centers, perhaps that's the role they see for these in the future.

Costco has had self-checkouts in the past in at least a small number of stores, but for whatever reason they converted them to staffed check-outs.
Self checkout doesn't work in every format. I have seen exactly ONE Costco with self checkout, in Kalispell, Montana in 2010. It really wasn't set up for the typical large purchases. Costco is usually staffed well enough that the checkout process is quick. I don't see the need for self checkouts really.

I have never been inside a Sam's Club. But if the way they staff Walmart front ends is any indication, I could see why the stores struggled.

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by arizonaguy » January 11th, 2018, 8:15 pm

buckguy wrote:
January 11th, 2018, 5:58 pm
Sam's posted better same-store sales gains than regular WalMarts this year, but otherwise their performance has been lackluster for a long time. I wondered when WalMart might sell the operation. It will be interesting to see which stores will remain as fulfillment centers, perhaps that's the role they see for these in the future.

Costco has had self-checkouts in the past in at least a small number of stores, but for whatever reason they converted them to staffed check-outs.
I'm not sure if Walmart is planning on pulling the plug on Sam's Club as a whole. I skimmed through their investor presentation from the fall to see what their comments about Sam's Club were and it seems like their goal is to do the following:

1.) Decide that they are targeting 1 to 2 income suburban families making $75,000 - $125,000 per year
2.) Build up the Members Mark private label and increase the percentage of sales that come from Members Mark items
3.) Expand their online presence / eCommerce platform

In the 1990s - 2016ish Walmart seemed to throw up Sam's Club and Walmart stores just about everywhere at a warp speed. The 2016 closures, these Sam's Club closures, and the rolling closures Walmart is doing (smaller town stores, etc.) are trying to get the store base down to a rational level.

Costco tends to be very careful and deliberate about opening stores (and once open they very rarely close) whereas Walmart and Sam's Club have put up stores whenever a new major shopping area opens. Some of the consolidation in some markets (like the Chicago western suburbs where they seem to have closed every other store) makes sense in the wake of rising labor costs as well as increased eCommerce use.

Even after these closures, Sam's Club will still have 50 or so more stores than Costco has in the US.

I am a member of both and Sam's Club has the advantage over Costco in terms of:

1.) Speed of checkout. Costco, for me, is useless if I'm only going to pick up an item or two (unless I go during a non-peak time which even then is rare). Costco's checkout process takes forever. I believe that this may be intentional to get customers to stock up their carts before they checkout (and it seems to work as oftentimes I've noticed that most customer's baskets are fairly full whenever I shop at Costco).

2.) Name brand items. Costco carries far more private label than Sam's Club does (although Sam's Club seems to be trying to change this).

3.) Website / eCommerce. Costco has the worst website / online buying experience of any major retailer. There isn't a "ship to store" option or a same-day pick up option, they require a larger threshold than their competitors for free delivery (which is 3-5 days on most items and 2 days on dry-non perishable groceries),

4.) Payment. Go to Costco and it's check, cash, or Visa. Go to Sam's and it's every payment method under the sun.

Costco has the best merchandise mix (which is tailored to every store) and is the better run club (as all they are is a warehouse club). However, Sam's is less of a rat race and can be a more pleasant experience for smaller baskets.

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by arizonaguy » January 11th, 2018, 8:18 pm

Super S wrote:
January 11th, 2018, 7:45 pm
buckguy wrote:
January 11th, 2018, 5:58 pm
Sam's posted better same-store sales gains than regular WalMarts this year, but otherwise their performance has been lackluster for a long time. I wondered when WalMart might sell the operation. It will be interesting to see which stores will remain as fulfillment centers, perhaps that's the role they see for these in the future.

Costco has had self-checkouts in the past in at least a small number of stores, but for whatever reason they converted them to staffed check-outs.
Self checkout doesn't work in every format. I have seen exactly ONE Costco with self checkout, in Kalispell, Montana in 2010. It really wasn't set up for the typical large purchases. Costco is usually staffed well enough that the checkout process is quick. I don't see the need for self checkouts really.

I have never been inside a Sam's Club. But if the way they staff Walmart front ends is any indication, I could see why the stores struggled.
Sam's checkout experience is significantly faster than Costco. Now, granted, it's generally because there is usually only a fraction of people waiting to check out at one time, but I've NEVER waited longer to checkout at Sam's than I have at Costco. Plus, when I only grab a few items (like I did today) the self checkout is exponentially faster. Costco's checkout experience is the worst of any retailer (when the store is moderately busy - very busy).

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by pseudo3d » January 11th, 2018, 9:48 pm

Looking at the Houston stores, the South Loop store was very isolated retail wise. It's right near the light rail terminus but everything around it on the south side of the freeway is all car dealerships or industrial usages, and while on the north side of the freeway there's a fairly dense but small apartment complex cluster and that's served by a Kroger and a Fiesta grocery-wise. Beyond that, some pretty rough neighborhoods. The west is better, but all the neighborhoods to the west have a Sam's Club near the west side of 610 as well as your typical Kroger/H-E-B/Randalls stores, and to the east of the South Loop store is a really bad area, like "America's Most Violent Neighborhoods" bad. South of it was more of the same to the east, and if you went a little beyond that, there was another Sam's Club in Pearland.

The store on Westheimer was near West Oaks Mall, which is in a deteriorating area despite being relatively new (2013).

The New Caney store was from last year. It didn't even make it a full year.

http://www.hkatexas.com/2017/01/sams-new-caney-texas/

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by mbz321 » January 11th, 2018, 10:04 pm

buckguy wrote:
January 11th, 2018, 5:58 pm


Costco has had self-checkouts in the past in at least a small number of stores, but for whatever reason they converted them to staffed check-outs.

Costco has been experimenting with Self-Checkouts again at a few locations..these are completely different models from what they used previously.

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by storewanderer » January 12th, 2018, 11:31 pm

I heard the first time Costco did self checkout that they didn't like the results and there were shrink issues. It will be interesting to see how round 2 goes.

I was turned off by Costco's checkout about 15 years ago, but my experiences the past few months when I gained a membership I didn't have to pay for, have been overwhelmingly positive. I have gone during very busy times. What I notice is they typically have two employees working at one register and basically one operates the register, and the other handles items left in cart and then handles getting scanned items back into the carts. The cashiers are so fast, it is very impressive. I also had a time when I bought one item and the "helper" turned over to a closed register and assisted me so I did not have to wait. He also flagged over another customer who had two items and quickly assisted her. Then he went back to helping the other cashier.

Sam's Club is something that I suspect Wal Mart has been wanting to be rid of for a long time. It is a dog. It underperforms Costco and it underperforms BJ's. Wal Mart does not like to fail. Wal Mart likes to dominate and win. Sam's definitely does not dominate or win. Sam's Club to the warehouse store business is what Kmart is to the discount store business. I assume Sam's is at least profitable though.

With that said, the local Sam's Club here in Reno, is a very good store. It has very good employees many of which have been there for a very long time. The store is never busy and I am surprised it survived this round of closures. I also feel like it has more depth of product mix than Costco in a lot of categories, particularly packaged goods. Costco smokes them on fresh food/perishables and electronics/clothes though.

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by pseudo3d » January 13th, 2018, 6:51 am

storewanderer wrote:
January 12th, 2018, 11:31 pm

Sam's Club is something that I suspect Wal Mart has been wanting to be rid of for a long time. It is a dog. It underperforms Costco and it underperforms BJ's. Wal Mart does not like to fail. Wal Mart likes to dominate and win. Sam's definitely does not dominate or win. Sam's Club to the warehouse store business is what Kmart is to the discount store business. I assume Sam's is at least profitable though.

With that said, the local Sam's Club here in Reno, is a very good store. It has very good employees many of which have been there for a very long time. The store is never busy and I am surprised it survived this round of closures. I also feel like it has more depth of product mix than Costco in a lot of categories, particularly packaged goods. Costco smokes them on fresh food/perishables and electronics/clothes though.
Costco is very picky about the market in inhabits, usually hanging out in large, rich MSAs with several stores. Sam's Club often finds itself in more middle-market areas. If I recall, we got ours in...1993? I think that's what I remember reading. BJ's is predominantly East Coast. The food items of Sam's Club, particularly perishables like deli meats and produce is nothing like Walmart and much higher quality.

I'm betting that the Sam's Club stores closed were all losers and probably weren't closed in 2016 just not to scare investors too much. I think I already ID'd the problem with two of the three in the Houston area.

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Re: Multiple Sam's Club Stores to close

Post by storewanderer » January 13th, 2018, 11:21 am

I don't know. My market has 3 Costcos and the 1 Sam's Club. 1 of the Costcos is VERY busy (the oldest operating one), the other two are not as busy, but way way busier than Sam's Club at its busiest. Reno/Sparks/Carson City isn't exactly what I'd call a high income market. But it was a fairly early Costco market (they had a store in the 80's out in the industrial part of town then opened their current Reno Store in the early 90's).

I'm surprised Sam's Club had so many stores doing so badly. Again, with how dead the Reno Sam's is, the fact that there were 63 stores in the chain that performed worse than it, is pretty troubling.

The other thing I can't tell by these closures is if perhaps they were looking to "thin out" in some markets but not exit those markets. That may explain why the Reno one survived this; they do not want to exit the market. Alaska, they evidently wanted to exit.

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