Sam's Club Employs Regional Buyers; Focused on Local and Organic

Tue. March 1st, 2016 - by Jessica Donnel

BENTONVILLE, AR - In an effort to bring in more local and organic food products, Sam’s Club has revealed it will be hiring a team of regional buyers for its U.S. stores. This is a strategy that has been employed by rival Costco in the past in order to boost loyalty and attract a wealthy customer base, Reuters reports.

John Furner, Chief Merchandising Officer, Sam's ClubAlready hiring several buyers in the Dallas-area, Sam's Club’s Chief Merchandising Officer, John Furner, told Reuters that the company is considering new teams in up to five other markets. Since the company’s inception, all of its buyers have been located at the company’s headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Furner believes that having buyers near local markets will make it easier to create relationships with “up-and-coming suppliers of organic, healthy, and premium foods.”

Sam's Club

Unnamed sources told Reuters that Sam's Club was considering having regional buyers handle 30 percent of its food items. Furner said he did not yet have a unit target and that his first priority was to make the Dallas operation successful before setting further plans.

Furner said a stronger array of organic and premium foods would help attract wealthier shoppers, a key plank of Sam's growth strategy and increasingly the target demographic for warehouse clubs.

After a half percent fall in sales at existing stores in the quarter ending in January, the first drop since early 2014, the company says it has a renewed focus on attracting a new customer base and retaining its current base. In contrast, Costco has been continually outpacing Sam’s Club in financial growth for years. As we’ve previously reported, Costco was found as the leading retailer for organics by BMO Capital Markets, selling more than $4 billion worth of organic products annually.

As continued details on Sam’s Club’s organic and upscale aspirations are revealed, tune in here for more.

Sam's Club