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Honey, They’re Shrinking the Sam’s Club in Texas. What’s Going on?

Sam's Club employee Amber Ewing scans items at checkout in St. Petersburg, Fla., on Wednesday August 16, 2017. Sharon Steinmann/The Penny Hoarder


Forget the hourslong, sample-fueled trip to Sam’s Club you’re used to taking. The warehouse club is opening a new concept that sounds a lot like your regular grocery store.

Sam’s Club will open a new location in the Lower Greenville neighborhood of Dallas later this year, the company said in a blog post last week.

“We’ll lean heavily into grocery and fresh food items, such as grab-and-go meals,” SamsClub.com CEO Jamie Iannone wrote. The store will also offer self-serve returns, same-day order pickup and Scan & Go checkout.

The store will also feature digital signage.

Why open a smaller store when parent company Walmart could simply open a new Express location or a Neighborhood Market?

It’s all about being a member. And that’ll cost you at least $45 per year.

The store will be restricted to Sam’s Club members, who will only need to traverse 32,000 square feet to fill their carts, instead of the chain’s typical 80,000-plus square feet.

At less than half of the club’s typical footprint, the store will likely feel more like a small grocery store, albeit with supersized containers of the items you might pick up regularly.

The new format seems like a play on the largely self-service Amazon Go store, right down to the membership requirement. And with grocery stores vying for customer loyalty, Sam’s Club may be hoping to snag customers for more frequent visits, not just the occasional stock-up trip.

A Sam’s Club representative said that the Lower Greenville store is the only one planned at this time.

Lisa Rowan (@lisatella) is a senior writer covering the retail and grocery industries.

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