When Wal-Mart Stores opened the first Sam's Wholesale Club in Midwest City, Okla., in 1983 it was intended as a vehicle for parent Wal-Mart Stores to enter urban markets. Within five years, the club had 104 locations and 7 million members. During that period, however, the company altered its strategy and began opening clubs adjacent to its discount stores in more-rural locations. Sam's grew in part through acquisitions, including 11 Super Saver Wholesale locations in 1987 and 27 Wholesale ...

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