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Wal-Mart confirms Sam's Club plans for JC

Sam’s Club is planning to open one of its bulk retail stores in Jefferson City in less than two years.

“I can confirm that we are planning a Sam’s Club for Jefferson City,” said Erica Jones, senior manager of communications for Wal-Mart. “We are on track for an early 2015 grand opening.”

No paperwork has been filed with the city yet, but city officials expect that will occur soon.

“I think when the largest retailer in the world is looking at your city, that is obviously a huge, huge deal,” Mayor Eric Struemph said. “You can only look at all the growth around the Sam’s north of us in Columbia, I think we’re very blessed as a city to not only have Sam’s, but other growth opportunities that are before us.”

KMIZ-TV reported Kirk Farmer of The Farmer Group said the retail outlet likely will be next to Dick’s Sporting Goods in the Stoneridge Plaza. Members of the family-owned development company couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Struemph said he hasn’t heard talk of any type of incentive package to bring the company to Jefferson City. Asked if he would support incentives, he said he would have to see a specific proposal first.

He said he’s encouraged by planned development on the city’s horizon, including a new St. Mary’s Health Center, city conference center, new state office building and Missouri State Penitentiary redevelopment.

“Obviously we are becoming a regional retail shopping hub, and I look forward to all the growth and opportunities that could come around that area, not just that area, but all over our city,” he said.

As of last May, Sam’s Club had 612 locations, mostly in the United States. It had planned to open another dozen last year, including one in Kansas City, Kan., and one in Wentzville.

The nearest Sam’s Club is in Columbia.

Sam’s Club is the eighth-largest retailer in the United States. Its parent company, Wal-Mart, is the largest. Sam’s Club is the second largest wholesale club. In 2009, Sam’s Club earned an estimated $46.7 billion, while the No. 1 wholesale club, Costco, earned about $57.7 billion, according to an L.E.K. Consulting analysis.

To shop at Sam’s Club, customers purchase annual memberships starting at around $40 for individuals and families. Sam’s Club also caters to small businesses. Sam’s Club claims its members save 34 percent over traditional retailers.

Sam’s Club employs about 110,000 in the United States. The average club is 134,000 square feet and offers bulk groceries and general merchandise. Most clubs also have specialty services, such as a pharmacy, an optical department, a photo center, or a tire and battery center.

In the past year, Wal-Mart’s stock has risen from about $60 to about $78 a share.

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