Sam's Club's new 'Microbusiness Tracker' helps define member needs

Sam's Club (NYSE:WMT) unveiled a new quarterly tracking poll focused on small businesses and microbusinesses to better understand and serve the retailer's microbusiness customer.

There are more than 25 million microbusinesses in the U.S., accounting for approximately 10 percent of all U.S. jobs across a broad spectrum of businesses, such as pizza shops and cafes, convenience stores, pet groomers, mechanics, offices and day care centers.

These are businesses with less than 500 employees, although many have as few as five and annual revenue of $50,000 or less, according to Rosalind Brewer, president and CEO, Sam's Club. Many of these microbusiness owners are Sam's Club members.

Among the results were a few surprises, particularly regarding women-owned businesses. Women-owned microbusinesses are on the rise in the past two decades, according to the inaugural survey. Nearly half of newer microbusinesses are started or owned by women. Women are less likely than men to use bank loans to finance their business and compared to their male counterparts, women are more likely to worry about working too hard and overdoing it.

These are business owners that often invest everything they have back into their organizations and more than 60 percent of microbusiness owners have financed their business from personal savings.

The intent of the survey is to help Sam's better understand these shoppers, said Brewer. "Sam's Club has served microbusiness members for more than 30 years," she said. "We're always conducting research with members to understand their needs and concerns. These are issues important for our member base and we want to know what's happening in their space."

Sam's made the survey public in the hopes that the information will prove valuable to microbusiness owners, in general. The poll, conducted in partnership with Gallup, will be updated and released quarterly.

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