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Sam’s Club to Increase Membership Annual Fee This Fall, First Time in Almost a Decade

On Wednesday, Sam’s Club announced that it would raise its annual fees for the first time in almost a decade.

The change will go into effect on Oct 17, with club membership fees increasing from $45 to $50 and “plus” memberships increasing from $100 to $110.

It’s the first fee increase for the basic membership in nine years. Since the “Plus” membership’s launch in 1999, Sam’s Club hasn’t increased its cost.

In comparison, Costco‘s basic membership costs $60 a year, while its higher-tier “Gold” membership costs $120.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, shoppers turned to Sam’s Club, Costco, and BJ’s Wholesale to stock up on bulk items, which caused Sam’s Club to hike its annual fees as warehouse clubs benefit from budget-conscious customers.

Sam’s Club CEO Kath McLay says the company is “mindful of the financial pressure on wallets right now.” She said Sam’s Club would pay the fee increase this year by reimbursing Sam’s Cash to customers.

Costco’s fees have also been speculated about in the past, as the club last raised prices in June 2017 and has historically increased them every 5.5 years, which puts them on track to do so.

In July, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek declined to comment on the increase. “I can tell you that we think about it every year, but right now, in terms of the membership fee, it’s not on the table right at the moment,” he said. “I’ve made it very clear. I don’t think it’s the right time.”

Nearly 600 Sam’s Club locations can be found in the United States and Puerto Rico. In the three months that ended July 31, membership revenue increased 8.9%.

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