Small Business Owners Await Tax Refunds to Help Defray Debt

Bentonville, Ark, April 6, 2006 – While the U.S. Small Business Administration prepares to host Small Business Week 2006, in Washington, D.C., many business owners are anxiously awaiting tax refunds to help pay down debt.  Paying down debt is the top financial priority  according to a new survey of 436 small business owners released today by BIG Research and SAM’S CLUB Small Business Confidence Index. 

To honor the contributions that small businesses make to the American economy, during Small Business Week SAM’S CLUB will serve as a corporate sponsor of the 2006 SBA Phoenix Awards in Washington, D.C.  Mark D. Goodman, executive vice president, membership, marketing and e-commerce is slated to award grants to businesses impacted by recent hurricanes. 

Tax Time Savings
Only 57 percent of business owners are expecting a tax refund in 2006, compared to 68 percent of adults who expect to receive a refund from the federal government.  Business owners have conservative plans as they prepare for tax season by taking specific steps to save:

• 53 percent of those surveyed plan to use any refunds to pay down debt while 30 percent plan to save the money

• More than half, 54 percent, are focusing on spending on only “what they need” rather than “what they want” this year.  Also, 44 percent believe they have become more practical in their purchases in 2006 compared to 39 percent of small business owners in 2005.

• Within the next three months, 28 percent plan to pay with cash more often, down from 30 percent in 2005, and 38 percent are hoping to increase savings, a rise from the 31 percent who planned on this last year.

Business owners’ plans for spending their refund checks reflect a cautious mood.  Fluctuating gas prices have played a role in discretionary spending as small business owners have increasingly taken steps to cut spending compared to 2005.  In 2006, business owners reacted to fuel prices with 24 percent delaying major purchases such as cars and furniture compared to 20 percent in 2005.  Thirty-five percent of small business owners plan to decrease dining out weighed against the 19 percent who took that step last year.  Fuel prices have also impacted spending on groceries, with 18 percent of small business owners purchasing less this year compared to 11 percent in 2005.

State of the Business
 In recognition of the hard work small business provides to the overall American economy, SAM’S CLUB will be the title sponsor of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Week 2006 in Washington, D.C., April 12-13.  In addition to the sponsorship of Small Business Week 2006, SAM’S CLUB will act as title sponsor of the national SBA Phoenix Awards, given to those individuals whose efforts and contributions have enabled their businesses or communities to recover successfully from a disaster.  In addition to sponsoring the Phoenix Awards, SAM’S CLUB is providing a total of $50,000 in grants to five businesses affected by Hurricane Katrina. 

To honor the small business owners and entrepreneurs across the country, more than 560 SAM’S CLUB locations will also host a special breakfast from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m., Wednesday, April 12.
 
“We recognize small business owners face many challenges,” said Mark Goodman, SAM’S CLUB executive vice president membership, marketing and e-commerce.  “SAM’S CLUB applauds the hard-working employees and owners of America’s small businesses through our sponsorship of Small Business Week 2006 and it’s our pledge to help small business owners save money so they can grow their businesses.”

About Sam’s Club
SAM’S CLUB (www.samsclub.com), a division of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE:WMT) is the nation’s largest warehouse chain in the United States serving small business owners and operators. The purchasing agent of choice, SAM’S CLUB provides every day low cost to more than 47 million entrepreneurs and consumers nationwide.

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