Sam's Club CEO talks business' focus on "digital transformation," watching micro business growth

Sam's Club, Wal-Mart's "membership only" warehouse, is the nation's eighth largest retailer. The company boasts more than 47 million members in the U.S., earning $57 billion in revenue last year.

In her last "CBS This Morning" appearance, Rosalind Brewer, the chain's president and chief executive officer, said the company's goal was to become a $100 billion company. Asked if they're on track to reach that goal, she said they are and they're "excited about where we are," and are now focusing on the business' "digital transformation."

"For us, we've always had a SamsClub.com," Brewer said. "We've sold online. But we do think that with 620 units in the U.S. -- that's the number of clubs that we have in the U.S. -- we think there is a business for us that combines both.

Though Sam's Club members still like to shop and enjoy "the thrill of the hunt," Brewer said there's still growth to be had online.

"Currently, you can buy online and pick up in-club and have your delivery ready for you when you're there. We think that there is more work to be done in that space where we combine what happens online and what happens in our club, so really making it easier for our members to access goods the way they want to access goods."

Sam's Club was created in 1983 to help small businesses. The company recently has teamed up with Gallup for a new poll focused on the emergence of American businesses with five employees or fewer, known as micro businesses. The number of these businesses is growing, Brewer said, and up to nearly 50 percent are run by women.

"The exciting thing that we're seeing with this is that women are so excited about this. They're maintaining their day job, but they're plowing a lot of their personal cash into getting something started. These are the businesses that we all enjoy, the cupcake shops on the corner, the pizza shops, and those kinds of things that really are the areas we want to see grow."

Asked about Sam's Club's link to these businesses, Brewer said the company is looking to "maintain relationships with small businesses."

Turning to the news of General Motors' Mary Barra's congressional hearings on a defective ignition switch, "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King said, "I would like to know how you think she's doing and do you ever feel the pressure? Forbes did an article yesterday that women executives face 'double bind' pressure. Do you feel that and how do you feel she's handling this crisis?"

Brewer replied, "I've been really impressed with the way she's handling this crisis. She's doing what I think is a phenomenal job under some really tough circumstances. I've been impressed. ... She's totally committed."

King said, "Do you feel that 'double bind' pressure? She's criticized as a woman, praised as a woman."

Brewer said, "I believe there's likely some reality to that. So I think I am empathetic to what she's going through."

  • Amanda Cochran

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