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Staffing, Health, Shrimp Among Walmart Developments

A Roundup of News From Around the WM World

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The California state Senate is considering a bill that would protect workers in grocery and pharmacy stores that offer self-checkout.

The measure would require grocery and pharmacy retailers to meet certain requirements if they wanted to offer self-checkout, including having no more than two self-checkout stations monitored by any one employee and requiring the employee to be relieved of all other duties.

Last year, the City of Evanston, Ill., considered a proposal that would require retailers to pay a $5,000 tax for every self-checkout kiosk the store offered.

It’s the latest in a round of worker-related legislation in California, where a new minimum wage of $20 for fast food workers kicked in earlier this week.

Walmart’s Health entering Dallas, KC, Houston

Walmart Health is expanding its footprint in Texas, with the opening of its first location in the Houston area the week of April 8. It plans to roll out more locations throughout the summer and fall.

In total, Walmart will open 22 new Health Centers in 2024, including 18 in Texas (eight in the Houston metro area and 10 in the Dallas/Fort Worth region) and four in the Kansas City market. The Kansas City sites will be Walmart Health’s first locations in Missouri.

The company said it is committed to having 75-plus total locations open by early 2025. (Walmart Health had 48 locations in five states.)

Walmart launched Walmart Health in 2019. The centers are designed to allow patients to manage their health care in one location, with services that include dental, primary care, behavioral health, x-ray, labs and more.

Walmart, Aldi linked to contaminated shrimp from India

A shrimp factory in southern India that distributes products to stores including Walmart and Aldi in the U.S. is under fire following an NBC News report.

At the center of the story are the use of “peeling sheds” that were offsite and unsanitary, using antibiotics with shrimp in violation of U.S. food safety law, and mistreating workers.

Congress is considering legislative proposals like H.R. 4547, the Laws Ensuring Safe Shrimp (LESS) Act, which provides additional resources to the FDA to ensure that imported shrimp are safe for human consumption and not supplied using illegal fishing practices.

“Walmart prohibits unsafe working conditions or forced labor of any form, and as outlined by our Antibiotics in Farm Animals Position, we limit our supplier’s use of antibiotics in the food we source, including fresh and frozen seafood,” Walmart said in an emailed statement to Supermarket News. “We expect suppliers to operate safe workplaces, take responsibility for the well-being of their workers, adhere to our forced labor prevention principles and to protect the integrity of the food we sell by complying with all FDA regulatory requirements and Walmart food safety standards.”

According to NBC News, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration inspected just over 1% of shrimp imports for antibiotic traces in 2023 and refused 51 shipments of shrimp because of antibiotics. It’s a far cry from what’s going on with the European Union, which samples 50% of shrimp from India for antibiotics.

Sam’s Club Reviewed By Advocacy Group

Compare Before Buying, an authority in consumer advocacy and product analysis, has published a review that delves into the realm of membership-based warehouse retail with an in-depth look at Sam’s Club and Costco.

Their breakdown of Sam’s Club:

Sam's Club is a membership-based warehouse retail store operated by Walmart, renowned for offering a wide variety of products at discounted prices in bulk quantities. With locations primarily in the United States, Sam's Club caters to value-conscious consumers seeking savings on groceries, electronics, home goods, and more. Members pay an annual fee for access to exclusive deals and benefits, including the convenience of shopping in bulk and enjoying significant cost savings on everyday essentials. The store emphasizes a no-frills shopping experience focused on value, making it a popular destination for families, businesses, and individuals looking to stretch their budgets without compromising on quality.

Similarly, Costco is a membership-based warehouse retail store operated by Costco Wholesale Corporation, recognized for its extensive selection of products offered at discounted prices in bulk quantities. Serving primarily the United States but also various other countries, Costco appeals to value-conscious consumers seeking savings on groceries, electronics, household goods, and more. A membership paid annually is required to gain exclusive access to Costco's offerings, which include not only cost-effective bulk purchasing options but also additional benefits such as discounted services and travel deals.

Determining whether Sam's Club or Costco is superior depends on factors such as individual preferences, location, and specific needs. Both warehouse clubs offer similar services, including bulk purchasing, discounted prices, and membership benefits, but they may differ in product selection, store layout, and geographic availability.

To assess which option is more suitable, the consumer should consider the proximity of each store, the range of products regularly purchased, the cost and benefits of membership, and any additional services or perks provided by each retailer. Ultimately, the decision hinges on which store better aligns with shopping habits and priorities.

Frequency of Shopping: For individuals who frequently purchase items in bulk or enjoy shopping for a wide variety of products, a Sam's Club membership can offer significant savings over time, particularly with discounted bulk pricing.

Cost of Membership vs. Potential Savings: Compare the annual membership fee with the potential savings one might accrue by shopping at Sam's Club. By making regular purchases and taking advantage of members-only discounts and promotions, the membership fee may be offset by the savings.

Exclusive Benefits: Consider the additional benefits offered with a Sam's Club membership, such as access to Scan & Go service, Sam's Cash rewards, fuel discounts, and free tire repairs.

Convenience: Sam's Club offers online shopping options and services like free shipping (for Plus members), which can add convenience to the shopping experience. For those who value the convenience of bulk purchasing, online shopping, and additional services, a membership may be worthwhile.

Shareability: If the membership can be shared with a household member (which is free for one additional person), it effectively doubles the value of the membership, making it even more worthwhile for families or shared households.

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