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10/29/2004
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Sam's Club In Line For RFID-Tagged Products

Wal-Mart extends use of the technology to its warehouse store chain

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to start shipping radio-frequency identification-tagged cases and pallets to a Sam's Club store in Plano, Texas, this fall. Like other club outlet chains, Sam's Club sells much of its goods in bulk so customers can take advantage of volume discounts. That means there's a good chance customers who shop at the Sam's Club store at Highway 121 and Ohio Drive will bring home RFID tags along with their purchases.

Wal-Mart will alert customers of cases that contain RFID tags via signs and literature that explains RFID, and they can remove the tags after purchase, a spokesman says.

Sam's Club customers are likely to get RFID tags on cases of products. -- Photo by Milbert Brown/Chicago Tribune

Sam's Club customers are likely to get RFID tags on cases of products.
Photo by Milbert Brown/Chicago Tribune
By June, Wal-Mart has said it will have RFID live in up to six distribution centers and as many as 250 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club locations. Until now the company has focused on Wal-Mart stores. By January, it will expand RFID deployments from one to three Texas distribution centers and increase the number of participating stores from seven to more than 130. Most will be in northern Texas, with the remainder in south-central Oklahoma.

Though the official January RFID project launch is still two months out, several apparel, toy, bicycle, and dairy-product manufacturers have started shipping or will ship within the next two weeks cases and pallets with RFID tags to Wal-Mart's Sanger, Texas distribution center. Beaver Street Fisheries, a supplier of meats and fish, will begin shipping tagged cases and pallets this week.

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