ROGERS, Ark. — Sam's Club is testing a new prepared-meals program at a store here, chain officials said during a press tour last week.
The store's in-house food-service operation has been testing a variety of new hot prepared foods, and is taking the most successful of those and turning them into refrigerated grab-and-go offerings in a 12-foot reach-in case. Among the items on display during the tour were pork roast; sun-dried tomato and mozzarella salad; sesame chicken; and Asian salmon. The case also includes side dishes.
In the hot-food area where the new products are tested, the company is moving toward more healthful alternatives — rather than the typical fare of hot dogs and pizza, it is offering more salads and sandwiches. It also has a new coffee bar with muffins and pound cake.
Sam's Club President and Chief Executive Officer Doug McMillon, asked by a reporter whether Sam's Club might be interested in buying BJ's Wholesale Club — which has reportedly long been eyed as an acquisition target by private equity — seemed to indicate the chain was not interested.
“We have plenty of work to do at Sam's Club,” he said. “We are aware of what's happening in the retail space, but I don't anticipate any announcements.”
He also addressed the question of whether Sam's Clubs were focusing on small-business customers or traditional consumers.
“Sam's Clubs are looking for a mix of small-business and regular consumers,” he said. “In the past we've tended to go too far one way or the other, and now we are striving for more balance.”
The store tour was held in advance of the annual shareholder meeting of Sam's parent company, Wal-Mart Stores, Bentonville, Ark.