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04/25

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Small Businesses More Confident In Economy Than General Consumers, According To New Sam's Club Survey

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact:
Jolanda Stewart – 479.277.8223
Dave Baldridge – 314.982.7782

SMALL BUSINESSES MORE CONFIDENT IN ECONOMY THAN GENERAL CONSUMERS, ACCORDING TO NEW SAM’S CLUB SURVEY
SAM’S CLUB introduces Small Business Confidence Index to monitor the pulse of small businesses as National Small Business Week gets underway in nation’s capital

BENTONVILLE, AR, April 25, 2005 – Even though overall confidence in the economy has been dropping for the past three months (5.5%), confidence among small businesses still ranked higher than that of general consumers. In fact, according to the Small Business Confidence Index released today by SAM’S CLUB, small business confidence in the economy has outpaced that of general consumers for the past year by an average of 3.9%. (See Table #1).

However, less than half (45.4%) of 1,200 small business owners and managers polled in April said they were confident/very confident about the chances for a strong economy during the next six months. (See Table #2) That reflects a confidence level drop of almost 7 percent compared to this time last year.

“More than half of the business owners surveyed feel the nation’s employment picture will remain about the same over the next six months,” said Kevin Turner, President and CEO, SAM’S CLUB.

“In order to better serve the needs of small business owners, we continually seek input from our Business Members through personal visits and from additional small business owners via these types of surveys,” Turner added. “We’re now sharing this data nationally through the Small Business Confidence Index to alert our Business Members, other entrepreneurs, and advocates of small businesses to emerging trends and shared issues that impact this amazing sector which is truly the backbone of our economy.”

Armed with data provided by its market intelligence firm, BIGresearch, SAM’S CLUB will be releasing monthly updates and comparisons of small business owners’ attitudes about the economy, their hiring plans and their thoughts on other issues critical to their bottom line.

SAM’S CLUB also asked nearly one thousand small business owners and managers to rank expenses that are of most importance to their operations. Health insurance topped the list ahead of broadband access, phone service, fuel and advertising costs. (See Table #3)

“The issue of affordable healthcare transcends industries and occupations. It doesn’t matter if you’re a contractor, convenience store owner, barber or florist, you’re still looking for cost-effective healthcare solutions,” said Turner. “That’s why we just added our Health Discount Program to the SAM’S CLUB roster of small business services, and we will continue to expand our health benefit offerings for our Members in the months ahead.”

The SAM’S CLUB new Health Discount Program is offered in partnership with HealthAllies, a UnitedHealth Group company. It provides up to 50 percent savings on health and well-being services traditionally not covered by medical insurance, including cosmetic dentistry, LASIK, alternative treatments (chiropractics, acupuncture and massage therapy), weight loss programs, hearing aids, home health care and fitness club memberships.

The SAM’S CLUB Small Business Confidence Index will be released monthly to the media, and also will be available for viewing at www.samsclub.com.

SAM’S CLUB (www.samsclub.com), a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is the nation’s largest warehouse chain in the United States serving small business owners and operators. The purchasing agent of choice, SAM’S CLUB provides every day low cost to more than 46 million entrepreneurs and consumers.

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About the SAM’S CLUB Small Business Confidence Index
Data for the Small Business Confidence Index is based upon analysis of 1,200 business purchasers, surveyed monthly by BIGresearch on critical issues affecting small businesses (Margin of error: plus or minus one percent).

BIGresearch is a consumer market intelligence firm that provides unique consumer insights that are gathered online utilizing very large sample sizes. BIGresearch’s syndicated Consumer Intentions and Actions survey monitors the pulse of more than 7,000 consumers each month to empower its clients with unique insights for identifying opportunities in a fragmented and changing marketplace. www.bigresearch.com

Click here for tables.