Walmart-owned Sam’s Club expects members to step up the holiday decorations as they organize more gatherings for family and friends.
From bigger turkeys and taller Christmas trees to bigger toy brands, Walmart-owned Sam’s Club is betting consumers will go big this year with the holiday celebrations.
The members-only warehouse club said on Friday it had huge rallies in mind and pent-up demand as it selected and ordered holiday merchandise. It doubled the size of popular holiday side dishes, mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, from two pounds to four pounds. He developed desserts intended to be crowd-pleasing, such as Christmas-themed cupcakes and cheesecakes topped with brownies. And it’s launched a new service that will drop 6- and 12-bottle packs of wine at customers’ doors to help them stock up for a party.
Sam’s Club members general manager Tony Rogers said in surveys and focus groups on Zoom, members told the company they plan to reunite with family and friends and meet up with friends and family. enjoying aspects of the holiday season that they had missed.
“People just feel like they were robbed of last Christmas and they can’t wait to go back to some of those traditions with their family and friends,” he said. “Our member tells us that this year they are going to come back to this like never before.”
Plus, he said, typical Sam’s Club patrons are the type of person who coaches Little League games, throws parties, and teaches Sunday School – and tends to get into the season, from sourcing snacks to decorating and selecting the perfect gifts.
Sam’s Club is adding over 25 new toy brands this holiday season, including LEGO, Segway and Rainbow High.
Official public health guidelines for holiday gatherings are yet to come. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publish recommendations on its website, but then pulled down the safety tips. Officials told NBC the agency will share its advice soon. Material that had been released suggested opening doors and windows or using a fan to add ventilation if an event was to take place indoors. He also encouraged people to consider virtual gatherings instead of getting together with people from other households.
Dr Isaac Bogoch, infectious disease physician and professor at the University of Toronto, said Covid-19 vaccinations “will provide an important layer of protection to any family reunion” this holiday season. But he said people will have to think about who will be present. A frail, elderly person or a child who has not yet received the vaccine may be at greater risk of infection.
“People should really think about their potential exposures, who will be there, who is at risk, who is vaccinated and plan accordingly,” he said.
New traditions mingle with old ones
The pandemic inspired Sam’s to add new additions to its holiday lineup. For example, head merchant Megan Crozier said her bakery would sell DIY kits for decorating cupcakes and cookies. Sam’s Club began selling the kits in spring 2020 as families searched for kid-friendly activities to do while stuck at home.
Crozier said the Sam’s Club is “bringing back the big turkeys” after selling many smaller ones last year. It will sell the same size range as last year – between 10 and 24 pounds – but Sam has stocked up on more heavier turkeys weighing 18 pounds or more based on information on how his members plan to celebrate. He also ordered lamb, rib roasts and salmon because people experimented with different Thanksgiving and Christmas menus last year, she said.
Early estimates call for stronger sales growth this holiday season, with forecasts from Bain and Deloitte a jump of at least 7% from a year ago.
Sam will try to capture as many as possible. It will host twice as many festive sales and sponsorship activities. Sixty stores will have sidewalk events of samples, product displays and Santa Claus virtual tours. Five will have even brighter celebrations, with a temporary ice rink.
Members will find a wider selection as the retailer has added more than 25 new toy brands, including Rainbow High and Segway. Sam has also ordered more matching pajamas for the family and mom and me this year after these were such big sellers last year, she said.
“Cozy and comfortable is here to stay,” said Crozier.
The Sam’s Club has developed holiday desserts that are supposed to be crowd-pleasing, including a brownie-topped cheesecake and pumpkin spice cake balls.
Warehouse Club Shop Boom
Warehouse club stores saw an increase in membership during the pandemic, as people bought food and household items in bulk and a wave of families moved into larger homes in the provinces. suburban and rural areas with larger pantries. The category has benefited as well, as millennials marry, have children, and buy homes.
The Sam’s Club said its membership numbers hit an all-time high in the most recent quarter ended July 30, but it is not disclosing specific numbers. Its competitors, Costco and BJ’s Wholesale Club also attracted new members and increased sales during the global health crisis.
Costco has more than 800 stores, including some in other countries like Canada, China and Mexico. Comparable sales increased by 13.4% in its last fiscal year ended August 29, compared to the previous year, excluding the impact of changes in gas prices and exchange rates.
BJ’s, a smaller, more regional chain of more than 215 clubs, saw comparable sales increase 21.3% in its most recent year, ended Jan. 30, excluding fuel sales.
Sam’s Club has nearly 600 stores. Comparable sales increased 11.8% for the fiscal year ended Jan. 29, compared to the previous year, excluding fuel.
Crozier said the Sam’s Club had placed orders early enough and plentiful enough to meet buyer demand, despite supply chain disruptions delaying shipments and limiting supply. She said the stores are designed to be like a “scavenger hunt” where people stumble upon interesting items, even if what they came looking for is out of stock.
“Something can sell, but something new is coming right behind,” she said.
That hasn’t stopped the Sam’s Club from releasing its very first holiday catalog to promote hot toys and popular gifts. It will arrive in mailboxes at the beginning of the month.
“We make sure to tell them that this is a ‘while stocks last’ situation this year,” said Ciara Anfield, vice president of marketing. “There is a reality that if you see something you like, you have to go ahead and buy it.”
– CNBC Berkeley Lovelace Jr. contributed to this story.