Shop Talk

Retailers, consumers and prices

Check Out Line: Sam’s Club outsources, sheds 10 percent of jobs


samsCheck out Sam’s Club cutting 11,200 jobs or about 10 percent of its workforce as it outsources in-store product demos and sheds jobs for recruiting new business members to its warehouses.

Sam’s Club, a division of Wal-Mart, will use a third-party company, Shopper Events , rather than its own staff to essentially hand out food samples or demonstrate electronics to passersby, allowing Sam’s Club to let go of about 10,000 mostly part-time workers. (Though they can apply for new jobs with Shopper Events.)

Sam’s Club is also getting rid of about 1,200 staff responsible for recruiting new business members.

(The move has some echoes of Saks Inc’s decision to offload workers at its cosmetics and fragrance counters at its Fifth Avenue flagship store by the end of this month and have outside vendors staff their counters.)

Meat worth getting into the car for


meatWal-Mart’s Sam’s Club is focused on winning the grocery business of cost-conscious shoppers, and Shawn Baldwin, the retailer’s vice president of fresh merchandising, knows what products are crucial to drawing shoppers into its stores.

“Most of the time where people decide to shop for food is determined by meat and produce. Both of those two we’ve spent the past couple of years really trying to upgrade the quality and that is something that resonates with everybody,” he told Reuters on the sideline of a media tour.