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LA JOLLA, CA-Sol Price, a retailing pioneer who is credited with founding the very first membership warehouse club ever established, Price Club, has died at the age of 93. Price, who lived in this San Diego County community, most recently was a co-founder of publicly held PriceSmart Inc., which is based in San Diego and operates 26 warehouse clubs in 11 countries and one US territory.

Price was a “universally acclaimed innovator” in the retail world, according to a statement issued by PriceSmart, which noted that he and his son Robert “envisioned, created and perfected the membership warehouse club industry with the establishment of the Price Co. in 1976.” By 1992 there were 94 Price Clubs operating throughout the US, as well as Canada and Mexico, generating $6.6 billion in annual sales.

Before establishing the Price Co., Price had founded FedMart Inc., which was also considered an innovator in its day. been highly successful, utilizing innovative approaches to retail merchandising. The Price Club later merged with Costco, and Price is credited with pioneering many of the concepts that have led to the growth of the retail warehousing chains like Costco and Sam’s Club. A Wikipedia entry says that Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton acknowledged borrowing a number of ideas from Price, including the naming of Wal-Mart, because he liked the sound of FedMart.

Price’s latest endeavor, the PriceSmart stores, are “typical no-frills warehouse club-type buildings” that range from 48,000 to 78,000 square feet and are located primarily in urban areas to take advantage of dense populations and relatively higher levels of disposable income, according to the San Diego-based company’s latest annual report. Product selection includes perishable foods and basic consumer products, with ancillary services including food courts, tire centers, and photo centers. As has become the custom with the warehouse retailing model that Price pioneered, all shoppers pay an annual membership fee.

Price is survived by his two sons, Robert and Larry, and their wives, five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. The family is planning private funeral services.

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