Americana: Warehouse Club Stores


Costco is the largest of the warehouse club chains by sales, Sam's Club has the most domestic locations. Uploaded by

Personally, I love the warehouse stores. Of course, you don’t go to the warehouse store for a pack of gum. You go for a 24-pack. And if you want a can of green beans, it’s going to be a 6-lb. can. But that’s part of the attraction, even part of the fun, of shopping there.

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The major competitors in this retail segment are, in order of market share, Costco, Sam’s Club, and B.J.’s Wholesale Club. Sam’s Club actually has the most stores operating in the U.S., but Costco earns more per store.

And what stores they are! Selling to small businesses as well as individuals, the stores carry merchandise across a wide spectrum of categories. Food, electronics, jewelry, office supplies, eyeglasses, medicine, appliances, furniture, clothing, books, sporting goods, auto supplies.

I’ve gone in my local Sam’s, bought maybe $40 of merchandise, and realized I was the only person in sight who wasn’t spending at least a C note. The average sale at these stores is breathtaking. Oh, and I forgot to mention one attraction: food samples. Get a half-slice of pizza, a couple of crackers with cheese and luncheon meat, maybe a piece of sausage – you never know what’s going to be there, but it’s like trick or treating without having to dress up.

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