Sam’s Club makes major strategy, personnel moves

Sam’s Club made some expansive personnel and strategy changes focused on merchandising on the same day that Walmart announced job cuts at its home office in Bentonville, Arkansas.

In a memo sent to Sam’s Club employees on Friday, Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer said the company “has been conducting an in-depth analysis of its business to map out a winning path for the future of Sam’s Club.”

The four key elements to the new strategy include:

1. Grow with higher household-income members and four high-value business segments;
2. Drive relevant merchandise and deliver better value for our members;
3. Acquire and retain the right members in the club and increase their spend; and
4. Transform the club experience with digital.

In her note, Brewer also said Sam’s Club jobs cuts were among those announced by Walmart.

“Our strategy work has coincided with the company’s initiative to improve overhead efficiency, creating a simpler, more effective workplace,” Brewer said. “Sam’s Club will be reducing layers of management, impacting a small number of associates. These are difficult decisions, and we know the impact this can have on associates and their families.”  

Brewer said the implementation of the new strategy at Sam’s Club involves at least nine personnel moves, including:

• Seong Ohm is moving from senior VP, merchandise business services to senior VP, merchandise solutions;

• Todd Matherly is moving from  senior VP, merchandise solutions to senior VP, business member merchandising;

• Jason Shaw is moving from VP, merchandise transformation to VP, category management (a new position);

• George Agnacian is moving from VP, Proprietary Brands to VP, Sam’s Club global leverage;

• Greg Cathey is moving from VP, Sam’s global leverage to VP and DMM, regional buying, food and beverage;

• Chandra Holt (formerly of Walgreens) will assume responsibility as VP, proprietary brands;

• Russell Mounce has been promoted to VP and DMM, produce;

• MiKaela Wardlaw Lemmon will change in reporting from merchandising to membership; and

• Alex Aguila will change in reporting from merchandising to membership.

The company has also created a new position of VP, divisional merchandise manager of meat, which it expects to fill soon.

Brewer said moving forward, Sam’s Club will target four primary categories of savings members:

• Large families: With children from ages six to 1;
• Neighbor families: Those who live within two to three miles of a Sam’s Club and treat our clubs almost like a grocery store;
• New moms: Who spend heavily on diapers, wipes, baby food, and have the potential to become very loyal members; and
• Social couples: Both empty nesters and millennials who like to entertain.

The company also expects to develop a broader, integrated private-label strategy that will fit above the category level.

“We intend to build fewer, much stronger private label brands. We will continue to concentrate on our business members, but with renewed vigor and focus,” Brewer said.

Brewer also said the company will continue to be the club differentiator when it comes to technology and make it “easier for our members to shop in and out of the club.”

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