Plus members will continue to receive other benefits like cash rewards, early shopping hours, and pharmacy and optical discounts.
The offer will be available to shoppers with Sam's Club's "Plus" membership, which costs $100 annually. But Sam's Club is yet another chain that is under pressure not only from rivals like membership warehouse giant Costco, but Amazon and its ability to deliver just about any goods to homes at low cost. While executives gave few details on the exact locations of those centers, aside from the first slated to open in Memphis, more details will emerge within the next six weeks.
Other initiatives have been geared toward that core customer as well, and Furner believes the efforts are gaining traction after Sam's Club reported a net sales increase of 4.4 percent during the third quarter of the fiscal year that ended January 26, while same-store sales increased for the seventh-straight quarter.
"They were trying to be too many things to too many people and they felt like that was hurting a little bit, so they're really trying to simplify this down and get it down to their core base and offer them great deals, and it can drive longer-term growth", Yarbrough said.
The Plus level will come with free shipping on the vast majority.
The moves have been initiated by John Furner, the new chief executive officer of Sam's Club, in a bid to rejuvenate a business which has underperformed compared to its parent company Walmart as well as competitors such as Costco Wholesale. Sam's Club is also considering putting up fulfilment centers in other places such as the Northeast, the Mid-Atlantic, Chicago, Southern California, Central Florida and Texas.