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NEW YORK — Christmas came early for Sam’s Club this year — at least for the warehouse giant’s merchandise.

The company on Tuesday showcased some of its holiday fare for reporters. The theme was affordable luxury.

“We’ve been recognized as a bulk seller and as catering to small businesses,” said Greg Spragg, executive vice president of merchandising for Sam’s. “We also talk about value. In affordable luxuries, we’re hoping to allow consumers to treat themselves. We haven’t been as well recognized” in this area.

Several products highlighted were in electronics. Spragg said flat-panel TVs can be as much as 20 percent cheaper at Sam’s than elsewhere. Meanwhile, white roses — 25 stems — are priced under $24.

“Our profit model is really all about our membership fee,” he said. “We sell a product for the cost of getting it to market.”

Dee Breazeale, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for the jewelry division of Sam’s Club, introduced the Journey diamond necklace, so named because the stones start small and grow larger as you reach the bottom. “It’s like love,” she said. “It starts small, then it grows.”

The necklace comes in weights of 1 carat, 3 carats and 5 carats. Prices range from $2,700 to more than $8,000.

A red Prada handbag on display retails for about $395, Breazeale said. “Prada is just one of the many brands we carry,” she added. “Consumers can save 30 percent to 50 percent.”

Breazeale said there are always about 12 handbag styles available at Sam’s. “It’s always a treasure hunt,” Breazeale said. “You never know what you’re going to find.”

Fendi on Friday filed a complaint with the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, that alleges that Sam’s Club has been selling counterfeit handbags with the Fendi logo. A Wal-Mart spokesman said Monday it believes the complaint is without merit and will demonstrate that the products being sold were acquired properly.

This story first appeared in the June 14, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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