Wal-Mart Inc.’s Sam’s Club will begin offering loans of up to $25,000 to members in an effort to set itself apart from other warehouse chains and build goodwill to bring in more business.
The loan program, which Sam’s Club calls the first of its type, is aimed at boosting business for a Wal-Mart unit that is trying to raise its profile among the small businesses that make up a good deal of its clientele.
“Access to capital is a major pain point for our members and the small business Main Street community,” said Catherine Corley, vice president of membership at Sam’s Club. “We believe this pilot program is a step in the right direction to help fuel small business growth.”
The move comes as Wal-Mart aims to reinvigorate sales gains at its Sam’s Club warehouse stores. The retailer closed 10 of the stores in January and let go of 10,000 demo staff as it switched to an outside vendor. Most of the staff was hired back by the vendor, spokeswoman Kristy Reed said. The operation is in the midst of remodeling stores, planning to complete 60 to 80 by the end of January.