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Sam's Club Re-examines Value Equation

Sam's Club has developed what it calls a Merchandising Value Framework that slots product categories into one of four segments: Everyday Needs, Simple Solutions, Excitement Categories, and Wow.

Home falls under Excitement, along with electronics, apparel and seasonal, according to evp, president and ceo Brian Cornell.

Speaking at the Barclays Capital 2010 Retail and Restaurants Conference last month, Cornell said: “We realize value means different things depending on a category our members shop.”

In the Excitement categories, “the focus is on brands, newness and seasonal relevance,” he said.

Expanding private label is not a priority, he added, and there is no target for growth. Private brands as a percentage of assortment is somewhere in the low to mid-teens.

Last month, Sam's Club established merchandising leadership teams for three areas of the country: the West, Southeast and Northeast. Senior execs will relocated from headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to live in their regions, said Cornell. “We're bringing out Club of the Community to life.”

Sam's also solicited customer feedback to create new merchandising ideas. Currently testing in 14 clubs, the initiative will expand to another 49, he said.

In addition, Sam's will complete the rollout of a revised dot-com site over the next few weeks.

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