In the U.S., Walmart Stores’ members-only warehouse chain, Sam’s Club, offers a wide array of products at discounted prices in cavernous, no-frills stores where goods are stacked on metal shelves.
Walmart is doing the same thing in China but with some pricey twists, including $3,200 Zojirushi rice cookers and $295,000 diamond rings.
Over the past two years, the retailer has repositioned the 14 Sam’s Clubs in the country to offer more expensive products. Shoppers can pick up $500 Dyson hair dryers or $1,700 bottles of 1995 Château Lafite Rothschild red wine.
Unlike its small business focus in America, Sam’s Club on the mainland is all about catering to the whims and preferences of an emerging middle and upper class willing to spend more for premium items.
Walmart sees big potential in China: Its Sam’s Club in Shenzhen, a fast-growing urban center in the southeast, is the chain’s best-performing outlet globally.
Walmart, which posted $482 billion in revenue for its fiscal year ended Jan. 31, doesn’t break out China sales, but it says the growth of clubs there is among its fastest globally.
Walmart aims to more than double the number of Sam’s Clubs there to 35 in three years, and it’s built an entire mall with a 1,900-car parking lot for a 5,000-square-meter store in Zhuhai, near the casino island of Macau.
Customers can now also order Walmart items from around the world through a store on JD.com.