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RESPONSE TO CONCEPT SPURS GROWTH; NATION'S LARGEST WAREHOUSE CLUB OPERATOR OPENS 200TH CLUB

 RESPONSE TO CONCEPT SPURS GROWTH;
 NATION'S LARGEST WAREHOUSE CLUB OPERATOR OPENS 200TH CLUB
 BENTONVILLE, Ark., Dec. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Once again, some financial analysts and news media are calling for a sluggish Christmas season for wholesalers and retailers, but SAM'S Club officials say they are anticipating a successful holiday selling season.
 In fact, the membership warehouse concept spurred by SAM'S has been received so well, the company is opening its 200th club in "the first state," Dover, Del., on Dec. 5.
 "Our members realize the buying power that is afforded them through their membership at SAM'S," stated A.L. Johnson, Wal-Mart vice chairman/SAM'S CEO. "The value of membership at SAM'S equals the value of merchandise," Johnson said. "In the threat of a recession and with the Christmas season upon us, consumers are more focused on quality and value...and that's what SAM'S delivers to our members," he added.
 Growth was not always quick for this now popular shopping concept which has been called "the wave of the '90s." In fact, the membership warehouse concept has just recently become more popular in the past several years as threats of recession, war in the Middle East and a sluggish economy continues to linger over the heads of Americans everywhere.
 SAM'S, however, has experienced aggressive growth since its inception in 1983 with more than 60 units opening FYE Jan. 31, 1992. Of the 60 SAM'S Clubs to open this year, 28 were former The Wholesale Club locations which merged with SAM'S last February. In addition to the Dover, Del., SAM'S, the company will also open a club in Hagerstown, Md., and Bangor, Maine, this week, followed by openings in Lexington, Ky., Philadelphia, and Champaign, Ill., next week. "First time" states for SAM'S to enter this year include Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada and New York. SAM'S plans to open 30-35 units next year including first time entrance into New Mexico, California, New Hampshire, Idaho and Puerto Rico.
 Like its parent company Wal-Mart, SAM'S is an innovator in productivity enhancements and technology improvements, a mandatory focus during expansion endeavors. "Low cost operation is one of the keys to our continued success," said Johnson. "But even with our rapid growth, we will be as dedicated as ever to providing our member-customers a unique merchandise assortment reflecting exceptional value."
 "SAM'S is ready for Christmas," said Colon Washburn, executive vice president-general merchandise manager for SAM'S. "In addition to meeting the needs of our business membership base, SAM'S buyers have anticipated the personal needs of our individual members. We have some excellent prices on some exciting merchandise from designer clothing to brand name electronics to frozen food."
 "In Business For Your Business," SAM'S philosophy is to provide name brand merchandise at warehouse prices to members for use in their own operation, resale to their customers, or personal use at exceptional value. This is a commitment company officials believe holds true 365 days a year...not just during the Christmas selling season.
 Recognized as the leader in the discount retail and warehouse club industry, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) sales were $32.6 billion FYE Jan. 31, 1991. The company currently operates approximately 1,700 Wal-Mart Stores and 200 SAM'S Clubs in a 40-state trade territory. Sales are projected to approach $44 billion this year.
 -0- 12/4/91
 /CONTACT: Brenda Lockhart of SAM'S Club, 501-277-7084/
 (WMT) CO: SAM'S Club; Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. ST: Arkansas IN: REA SU:


BN -- AT004 -- 9046 12/04/91 09:06 EST
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Copyright 1991 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Dec 4, 1991
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