Aug 31, 2022 - Economy

Sam's Club raising membership fees for first time in 9 years

A shopper pushes a cart outside a Sam's Club store

Sam's Club membership fees are going up. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sam's Club is raising its membership rates for the first time in nine years starting in mid-October, the Walmart brand said Wednesday.

Why it matters: Consumers are already grappling with inflation and higher food prices while retailers are dealing with rising costs and looking to increase profits.

The big picture: In recent years, consumers have turned to wholesale clubs to stock up and save on bulk purchases.

What's happening: Sam's Club president and CEO Kath McLay announced the fee hike in a letter sent to members Wednesday.

Details: Starting Oct. 17, the annual fees will increase from $5 to $10 depending on membership level.

  • A Club membership will cost $50, up from $45.
  • A Plus membership, which includes extended shopping hours and other perks, will cost $110, up from $100.

What they're saying: "This is the first time we’ve shifted the price of a Plus membership since it was introduced in 1999, and it’s been nine years since we last changed the price of our Club membership," McLay said in the letter.

Between the lines: Current members who renew between Oct. 17, 2022 and Oct. 16, 2023 won't feel the pinch of the increase.

  • "We are mindful of the financial pressure on wallets right now. So, this year’s renewal is on us," McLay said. "We’re giving back $5 in Sam’s Cash to Club members and $10 in Sam’s Cash to Plus members shortly after renewal."

Meanwhile, Costco Wholesale officials have said multiple times in recent months that it was “not the right time” to raise annual membership fees.

  • Costco last hiked membership rates in June 2017 and past increases have happened five to six years apart, officials said.

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