Members-only warehouse Sam’s Club is stocking up on fatter turkeys and taller Christmas trees as it prepares for what it expects to be a bustling holiday season with many families gathering for the first time in two years due to the pandemic.
The Walmart-owned bulk retailer announced Friday that it has stocked up on larger-sized holiday merchandise after hearing from customers that "it’s ‘game on’ this Christmas, maybe like never before," according to Tony Rogers, chief member officer.
The company doubled the size of its popular holiday side dishes, ordering four-pound servings of mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes, up from two pounds in years past, company executives told CNBC.
And after prioritizing smaller turkeys last year, Sam’s Club is stocking up on more heavier turkeys — to the tune of about 18 pounds or more — this time around, with the thinking that people will travel to be with family for the holidays as vaccinations drive down the threat of COVID-19.
Sam’s Club didn’t mention the global supply chain crunch that experts say could lead to major delivery delays and shortages of everything — from toys to even turkeys.
But the company said it’s launching its holiday shopping events earlier this year to "give its members a jumpstart on savings," a move that could also help the company space out a surge in demand that would further bungle its supply chain.
It also announced Friday that it’s launching a direct-to-home wine delivery business in 16 states, building on momentum that the e-commerce movement has gained during the pandemic.
Members-only warehouse chains like Sam’s Club and its rival Costco have been major winners of the pandemic, with Sam’s Club saying Friday that "membership has reached record levels."
Sam’s Club is hoping to keep that momentum going as more and more people get vaccinated and the pandemic becomes less of threat, enabling people to more comfortably reemerge from their homes.
Last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended people forego holiday gatherings as the pandemic surged, overwhelming hospitals nationwide.
The agency hasn’t yet said clearly which way it’s leaning this time around, though Dr. Anthony Fauci took heat last week for saying it’s "too soon" to tell whether the COVID-19 pandemic would disrupt this year’s holiday gatherings.
At the same time, the CDC did publish guidelines for what people ought to consider if they do decide to gather.