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USAToday reports that while warehouse club stores began as a way to allow consumers to stock up on bulk purchases for cheap prices, today's club shoppers are looking for unusual and gourmet items that they can't find anywhere else.

"The war of warehouse clubs appears to be ratcheting up — as in upscale," the paper reports. "The clubs are in an unlikely tug of war for the mind-set — and the credit card — of consumers who wouldn't, at first blush, appear to be warehouse club regulars."

And grocery is a big deal to all of the major players - Costco, Sam's Club, and BJ's. There is, the paper reports, a "ongoing consumer shift to buying groceries at clubs, which snatched $46.6 billion, or 7%, from the $682.3 billion grocery industry last year, up from 5% the year before."

At the moment, Costco seems to appealing more to specialty tastes with unusual items, Sam's has said it wants to have greater appeal to small business, and BJ's is focused on the female shopper. However, those are not cut-and-dried distinctions; Sam's also is sponsoring a big diamond event as a way of generating traffic and sales.
KC's View:
We may be the exception, but we have a basic rule in choosing which club we below to.


BJ's used to be closer, so we went there - about 10 miles away. Costco moved in about two miles away, so now we go there, and a lot more often.