Sam's Club CEO hopeful outside company will do wide-scale hiring - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Sam's Club CEO hopeful outside company will do wide-scale hiring

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NEW YORK (AP) -- The CEO of Sam's Club says he thinks an outside marketing company being hired to do in-store product demonstrations will hire nearly as many people as the more than 11,000 being laid off.

That company is Shopper Events, based in Rogers, Ark., and it currently works with Wal-Mart's namesake stores on in-store demonstrations.

Sam's Club will now look to the outside company to improve sampling in areas such as electronics, personal wellness products and food items. The idea is to entice shoppers to spend more.

Sam's Club has underperformed the Walmart chain in the U.S. and abroad and CEO Brian Cornell has been working to improve results since taking the helm in early 2009.

In a memo to employees, Cornell said eligible workers will receive severance pay and benefits, and that the company will help them find opportunities at other Sam's Clubs and in Walmart stores, in addition to Shopper Events positions.

Retail consultant Craig Johnson says fresh food is a prime battleground for big discounters, and Sam's Club's new CEO has a strong background in food marketing. Johnson also says the firm hired by Wal-Mart for its in-store product-sampling at the Sam's Club stores will likely do a better job than the previous in-house unit and many of the 11,200 people Wal-Mart is laying off may not be out of work for very long.

Sally Grueling, one of the Sam's Club employees laid off in Hilliard, Ohio, thinks the layoffs of Sam's Club employees involved with in-store product-sampling is about cutting costs. Grueling also says getting laid off puts her family in a tough spot.

Online Reporter: Kelsi Schindler

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