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05/18

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Sam's Club® Simplifies Small Business Membership Offering

Home–Based and Micro-Entrepreneurs Get Greater Access To Savings and Services

BENTONVILLE, Ark., May 18, 2009— Sam’s Club is making it easier for small businesses to lower their costs by simplifying the requirements for its Business Membership by eliminating more than a dozen required documents including permits and licenses formerly needed to join. Under the new guidelines, small business owners can obtain a Sam’s Club business membership simply by providing a current business card, letterhead or other documents they may use to promote or manage their business.

“Sam’s Club has always been an inclusive club and we’re making it easier than ever for small businesses to benefit from the value and convenience we have to offer,” said Catherine Corley, vice president, Small Business Insights, Sam’s Club. “We believe our new guidelines will particularly appeal to those with home-based businesses, independent direct sales professionals and women- and minority-owned small businesses.” Corely announced the changes at the Small Business Administration’s Annual Champion Awards Luncheon in Washington, D.C. which also celebrates National Small Business Week.

U.S. women-owned small businesses continue to grow faster than all other groups despite the challenging economy. From 2002 to 2008, majority women-owned businesses grew at a rate of 11 percent versus majority men-owned firms at 9 percent, according to the Center for Women’s Business Research. According to the Kauffman Foundation, Americans aged 55 to 64 form small businesses at the highest rate of any age group—28% higher than the adult average and Americans 45 to 54 years of age also form small businesses at an above average rate.

“These membership simplifications are especially helpful to service-based businesses which comprise 56 percent of all women-owned firms,” said Gwen Martin, Interim Executive Director & Director of Research, Center for Women’s Business Research.

Beyond high quality items at exceptional values, office supplies and electronics needed to run a business, Sam’s Club Business Members also enjoy exclusive Gold Key™ hours from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Saturday. Time saving-services include Click n’ Pull, a web-based order ahead program, and Sam’s Club requires no contracts or minimum orders for small businesses. Sam’s Club also provides a free cost comparison to Business Members so they can be certain they are getting the best possible price and identify how they could be saving more. In addition, samsclub.com offers an expanded product assortment available 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Sam’s Club has launched a resource center at samsclub.com/smallbusiness for owners and operators to request a cost comparison on Sam’s Club products versus other providers. Year to date, Sam’s Club estimates it has identified more than $233 million in savings for Small Business and since the launch of its Small Business Savings Drive last month, Sam’s Club associates have contacted more than 80,000 small businesses to help them identify ways they could be saving. Small Business owners can download a one-day membership pass at samsclub.com/small business. The pass is available through May 25, 2009 and allows guests the chance to make a purchase without paying the standard 10 percent non-member service fee.

In addition to products for resale at convenience stores or restaurants and items needed to run a small business or office, Sam’s Club also offers services including low cost health insurance for small business owners and their employees. Annual fees for a Sam’s Club Business Membership start at $35 and small businesses seeking tax exempt status are still required to produce current federal and state tax exempt documentation.

About Sam’s Club
Sam’s Club is a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT). The first Sam’s Club opened its doors in Midwest City, Okla., in 1983. Today, Sam’s Club serves more than 47 million U.S. Members with locations nationwide and in Brazil, China, Mexico and Puerto Rico. Sam’s Club offers exceptional values on merchandise and services for business owners and consumers. Online merchandise and Club information is available at samsclub.com.

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