Sam’s Club, long considered the red-headed stepchild of the warehouse club industry, is stepping up its game against competitors by launching a new premium level private label.
We have 3 warehouse club chains in the country. Costco Wholesale and Sam’s Club operate on a national level, while BJ’s Wholesale is a regional chain. For years, Sam’s Club has been the joke of the industry. They were directionless and leaderless, with disheveled stores, dirty bathrooms and rotten sales to show for it all.
But Sam’s Club has turned it around. I see it when I walk the stores. The sales are picking up and they’re becoming a meaningful competitor to the other guys. They have a better product mix, though the various locations I’ve seen are still uneven when it comes to cleanliness.
They’re also introducing a better mix of higher quality private label goods, including a wide variety of freshly baked goods. Not to mention a renewed focus on fresh produce. The latest effort in this company’s repositioning initiative is the introduction of a premium level private label called Simply Right.
Simply Right is not Member’s Mark. The Member’s Mark label was truly low quality for a low price. Simply Right will hopefully help Sam’s Club target a higher-income demographic of shopper because it’s of a much higher quality than you’re used to from the warehouse club’s own brand.
I love the competition that’s in store. You will be the beneficiary of Sam’s Club getting its act together, which will create a market share battle between Costco and Sam’s Club.
Costco is now approaching some 60 million members and has done such a good job of targeting shoppers that are generally of a higher income than the Sam’s Club shopper. But with Sam’s Club fighting back, now it’s really on!
I’ve noticed with particular interest what Sam’s Club is doing for its premium members with private sales that are called eValues. I took advantage of one particular eValue offer and got $10 off paper towels during my last shopping trip. That’s indicative of the kind of huge discounts they’re doing to try to step things up against what have been vastly superior competitors up to this point.