Sam’s Club to Open Hispanic Format
Bentonville, Ark. Sam’s Club announced Tuesday during the Wal-Mart Stores’ annual analyst conference that it plans to open a membership warehouse club that will feature an expanded assortment of imported products from Mexico. The new format, called Mas Club, will debut during the first half of 2009, in Houston.
“Mas Club will cater to the wants and needs of Hispanic families and entrepreneurs,” said Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Sam’s Club.” Our objective is to create an additional shopping choice that provides currently unavailable value for families, restaurant owners, convenience stores and more.”
Mas Club will offer fresh produce and meats, and a unique selection of Hispanic foods and international brands, including beverages, spices and candy for both family use and small-business resale. The space will offer outdoor shopping and an event area, and the cafe will offer fresh-made tortillas. The Houston store also will have its own gas station, exclusive to Mas Club members.
Sam’s Club said it is designing new signs and a Mas Club logo. It also said that existing Sam’s Club members who want to shop at Mas Club will need to purchase a separate membership. The membership fees for the new club have not yet been determined.
In other news coming out of the Wal-Mart analysts meeting, Wal-Mart U.S. president and CEO Eduardo Castro-Wright said traffic at stores serving households with income above $65,000 has been growing much faster than at the chain as a whole, Reuters reported.
“What that means is we are seeing a lot of new customers that did not consider Wal-Mart before, that consider Wal-Mart now,” Castro-Wright said.
Castro-Wright said the chain has seen dramatic improvement in its electronics department, where it has done extensive renovations, bringing in name-brand products and expanding space for shoppers to test out video games.
“We’re going to increase investment behind remodels so that we can bring all of our fleet up to the same standard as fast as we can,” Castro-Wright said.
Whole Foods voices opposition to new FTC rules
AUSTIN, Texas In comments submitted to the Federal Trade Commission, Whole Foods Market announced its strong opposition to new and amended regulations proposed by the Federal Trade Commission.
“Through these regulations, the FTC is attempting to deprive American businesses of the fundamental principles of due process, the very businesses that believed that mergers should actually benefit the consumer,” said Lanny Davis, outside counsel to Whole Foods Market. “Even worse, the FTC is trying to push through this radical change of its regulations in a limited 30 -day comment period, just weeks before the Presidential election and in the middle of a national economic crisis. This is not acceptable behavior by a regulatory agency that has such power over American businesses affecting millions of consumers.”
The comments submitted to the FTC by Paul Denis of Dechert LLP, outside counsel to Whole Foods Market, protested the FTC’s “rush to judgment,” referring both to the unusually short 30 day comment period and to the effects of the proposed regulations, which would prevent many, if not most, companies from having enough time to defend themselves from FTC actions attempting to block mergers. The proposed regulations would specify “that the actual date for the evidentiary hearing would be 5 months from the date of the complaint in merger cases,” despite the fact that, as FTC Commissioners have frequently recognized, “the merger review process is highly fact-intensive.” According to the comments, “the proposed regulation adopts an unfair ‘one-size fits all’ approach, regardless of a particular matter’s complexity.”
The company is forming an “Ad Hoc Committee for FTC Fair Play” and it hopes other businesses and organizations will immediately submit opposition comments to the FTC seeking an extension of the comment period as well as a rejection of the proposed regulations. Those interested in joining the “ad hoc committee,” can do so by visiting http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/ftc.
Amazon releases their hot toy list
SEATTLE, Wash. Amazon.com revealed the Holiday Toy List, where customers can find this season’s video games, sporting goods, electronics, movies and more.
“The Holiday Toy List is a helpful tool for parents, friends and family members who are searching for the perfect toys for the kids on their list,” says Sarah Wood, director of the toy store for Amazon.com.
The Holiday Toy List features products from leading brands like Mattel, Jakks Pacific, Crayola, LEGO, Razor, Schwinn, Sony, Nintendo, Apple and Fender Starcaster. With most products in the Holiday Toy List eligible for FREE Super Saver Shipping and Amazon Prime, Amazon.com expects the customer favorites to include: Apple iPod touch 64 GB, Crayola Crayon Maker, Fisher Price Elmo’s Tickle Hands, LeapFrog Zippity High-Energy Learning System, Nintendo DSi, Speakal iPig 2.1 Stereo iPod Docking Station, Transformers Movie 2 Combiner Construction Devastator and Zune HD 32 GB Video MP3 Player.
For the latest prices and availability, visit Amazon.com or the Amazon.com Holiday Toy List at www.amazon.com/holidaytoylist.