Shuttered Sam’s Club Converted Into eCommerce Center

Sam's Club

After closing its doors earlier in the year, a former Sam’s Club store outside of Chicago will become a fulfillment center for eCommerce orders. The new facility will be the second distribution hub of its kind in the U.S., the Chicago Tribune reported.

Once completed, the new center will serve as a regional hub for Sam’s Club online orders and will cover several hundred miles around Chicago. Currently, the company is planning to have the hub up and running by the end of 2018. The hub will staff at least 70 workers — a headcount that could rise to 140 workers at peak times.

In June, the retailer unveiled a new fulfillment center in Memphis. The location, also a former Sam’s Club store, took four months to convert to a fulfillment center. Going forward, it is considering making similar conversions. Other eCommerce facilities in Florida, California, the Chicago area and the Northeast are reportedly on the way.

The news comes as Sam’s Club is undertaking a strategic shift — one that began in January with something of a bang when Sam’s announced it was closing 63 stores as part of its overhaul strategy. The next phase of that strategy went public in February, when Sam’s announced that it would be making a bigger shift toward eCommerce — and offering Sam’s Plus members free shipping on any item. That perk is familiar, of course, as it is also the foundational perk of Amazon Prime.

In all, Sam’s is said to be focusing on its core customers — families making around $120,000 per year. The company is also restructuring its membership levels from three to two: the Plus membership and the $45 Club membership.