Walmart-owned Sam’s Club is raising its annual membership fee, saying the value of the warehouse club justifies the higher price.
The new annual membership fee starts Oct. 17, raising the normal membership to $50 from $45. The fee for a “Plus” membership that includes additional perks will go to $110 from $100.
This 11% rate raise is the first the warehouse club has had in nine years. It is the first hike of the Sam’s Club Plus rate since the higher tier was created in 1999.
Sam’s Club said its higher-quality merchandise and services justify the price increase.
“We’ve made investments and we believe our proposition, our membership is now worth more,” Sam’s Club Chief Member and Marketing Officer Ciara Anfield told CNBC.
In a letter to members, CEO Kath McLay explained that the company would cover the cost of this year’s membership renewal via Sam’s Cash, the club’s cashback program.
“We are mindful of the financial pressure on wallets right now. So, this year’s renewal is on us. We’re giving back $5 in Sam’s Cash to Club members and $10 in Sam’s Cash to Plus members shortly after renewal,” Ms. McLay said in the letter acquired by Business Insider.
Sam’s Club is outpacing parent company Walmart in earnings. Same-store sales at Sam’s Club were up 9.5% in the most recently reported quarter versus 6.5% at Walmart, according to CNBC.