Thanksgiving plate

Sam’s Club Adapts to a Highly Unusual Holiday Season

Downsized Dinner Parties

Holiday tables could look a little different this year as the pandemic continues and many Americans stay away from vulnerable family members. As a result, grocery stores could look a little different, too. Sam’s Club, the warehouse store known for multi-packs and supersized items, said it will stock stores with smaller options to fit this year’s more subdued celebrations.

The company, owned by Walmart (WMT), experimented with smaller packages of brownie and cake mix at the start of the pandemic when lockdown orders meant Americans were spending more time with immediate family and less with friends. The smaller packages were a success, so Sam’s Club CMO Megan Crozier said they will continue with this strategy for holiday offerings.

Shapeshifting to Fit Smaller Budgets

Like many retailers trying to control crowds and avoid supply chain issues, Sam’s Club is launching holiday sales this month instead of around Thanksgiving. In fact, Sam’s Club’s first holiday sale began on October 4.

The extended sales and smaller portions certainly have their place in a public health crisis, but they’re also driven by Americans’ budget-conscious mindset. As many experience economic uncertainty, smaller portions can help consumers celebrate the holidays on a more manageable scale.

Another advantage to smaller offerings is portion control. As Americans aim for healthier diets, slimmer snack bags can help. In many cases, analysts say shrinking initiatives can benefit both companies’ profit margins and customers’ diets and wallets.

Tinier Turkeys and Trimmings

Nearly half of Americans plan to eat Thanksgiving dinner at home with their immediate family this year instead of traveling to see cousins, grandparents, and distant relatives. It’s not yet clear how that will impact the estimated 40 million turkeys Americans traditionally gobble up for Thanksgiving. With that said, the National Turkey Federation hopes to help families figure out how to cook simple breasts, thighs, or smaller turkeys for a smaller table.

The smaller turkey will also come with smaller trimmings. As it relates to Sam’s Club, the company will sell a pack of side dishes—sweet potatoes, green beans, and mac and cheese—to feed a family of four instead of an overstuffed table. If Americans do decide to downsize their holiday group settings due to precautionary measures in light of COVID-19, retailers are ready to adapt with food items at all prices and sizes.

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