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Bloomberg reports that Walmart-owned Sam’s Club is opening a new store in Dallas called Sam’s Club Now that is designed to be a testing ground for new technologies that can be used in the membership club’s stores as well as in other Walmart formats.

For example, the store will enable all shoppers to make “their purchases on their smartphones, which they’ll also use to build shopping lists and navigate around the store. The location, which at just 32,000 square feet is a quarter the size of an average Sam’s Club, will also feature electronic shelf labels that instantly update prices and augmented reality displays that can transform digital shopping carts into pirate ships.”

Reuters writes that “the focus on opening more research labs and investments in that direction are the latest sign that Walmart is doubling down on making its stores better even as it competes to gain ground against rival Inc in the business of selling goods online.”
KC's View:
No question in my mind that Sam’s needs to find ways to differentiate itself from Costco, and this certainly is a good step in that direction. Add this to the fact that Sam’s also has been closing stores and converting some of them into e-commerce distribution centers, and you see a retailing entity that seems to be developing a specific and differentiated world view.