Sam's Club this week is promoting itself as a small business leader and has announced several initiatives in honor of National Small Business Week May 16 to 20. The company said it would donate up to $200,000 to organizations supporting entrepreneurs. In addition the company is offering a limited-time, lower-cost membership deal for small business owners.
The most recent pricing survey from the equity research team at Credit Suisse shows that Walmart is either 3.1% cheaper than Target or 1.9% more expensive. The firm compared prices at stores in the Dallas and Chicago markets, as it does every month, and during March discovered the gap between the two competitors narrowed considerably.
Shoppers looking to buy an e-reader for mom this week had an interesting choice to make. They could pay $149 for a Nook at Walmart or go to Target or Best Buy and pick up a Kindle for $114.
Walmart again topped the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies, and it doesn’t appear likely to relinquish the top ranking anytime soon. With annual revenues of $421.8 billion, Walmart easily outpaced such oil companies as ExxonMobil at $354.6 billion, Chevron at $196.3 billion and ConocoPhillips at $184.9 billion. Higher oil prices last year boosted the top line at those companies, but even the closest contender of the lot would need oil prices to increase dramatically from current levels for any shot at overtaking Walmart. And that assumes Walmart doesn’t continue growing, which isn’t likely to happen given the potential for further expansion overseas.
The 13.1% increase in same-store sales Target reported for April was toward the low end of the company’s projection of an increase in the mid-teens, but it doesn’t appear Walmart’s mid-month launch of a new marketing campaign contributed to the weakness.
Given the performance of Costco and BJ’s during April, it’s a safe bet that same-store sales at Sam’s Club continued to accelerate during the first quarter and will meet or exceed guidance provided at the end of the fourth quarter that called for an increase in the 1% to 3% range.
Walmart.com EVP Steve Nave and online grocer Peapod’s COO Mike Brennan are slated to share the stage at Nielsen’s upcoming Consumer 360 conference in Orlando June 20 to 22 during a session moderated by Adam Lashinsky, Fortune’s editor-at-large. The session has the potential to be extremely interesting considering that Walmart recently began experimenting with home delivery of groceries in the San Jose area and already operates a successful home delivery business with in the United Kingdom through its Asda subsidiary. Meanwhile, Peapod is an early innovator in the online grocery space and was founded more than 20 years ago. Today, the company is majority owned by Royal Ahold, which operates stores in the Northeast under the Stop & Shop and Giant banners.
The Walmart Visitor Center in downtown Bentonville is set to reopen on May 21 after undergoing extensive renovations, which means the new facility will be able to accommodate the thousands of Walmart employees who will descend on the town for the company’s annual meeting on June 3.
Sam's Club is offering skin cancer screenings to customers on May 14 as part of Skin Cancer Awareness Month.