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    Shaw's Launches Initiatives

    WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Shaw's Supermarkets Inc. here may be in between owners at the moment, but it is not in a holding pattern. The chain, under recently installed president Carl Jablonski, revealed last week that it will roll out a new Shop 'n' Scan wireless shopping and self-checkout system, launch a new ad campaign focusing on products and pricing, and add more Dunkin' Donuts outlets within its stores.

    WEST BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Shaw's Supermarkets Inc. here may be in between owners at the moment, but it is not in a holding pattern. The chain, under recently installed president Carl Jablonski, revealed last week that it will roll out a new Shop 'n' Scan wireless shopping and self-checkout system, launch a new ad campaign focusing on products and pricing, and add more Dunkin' Donuts outlets within its stores.

    Of the Shop 'n' Scan system, Jablonski told the Boston Herald, "Customers will start to see some new technology as we continue to upgrade our front-end systems." The process of updating the stores should take 18 to 24 months, Shaw's director of communications Judy Chong told Progressive Grocer.

    The wireless Shop 'n' Scan system will allow shoppers to use handheld scanners to record product bar codes as they move through the aisles. The scanners keep a tally of purchases and tell customers about specials. When customers have finished shopping, they can go to a self-checkout or regular checkout line, or a dedicated express pay station, where their "end-of-trip" bar code is scanned. The orders are then automatically downloaded into the cash register.

    Albertsons, which recently agreed to sell Shaw's and its other stores to a consortium led by Minneapolis-based Supervalu, first tested the system at Chicago-area Jewel-Osco stores. Although shoppers who use the system must agree to random audits to discourage shoplifting, Shaw's said that under the system "theft is no more a problem than [with] traditional shopping."

    Shaw's said it will assign employees to help customers deal with any difficulties in using the self-checkout issues.

    Additionally, the retailer will debut "avenu" kiosks providing customized offers and product savings to shoppers who swipe their rewards cards. The incentives, which will automatically go on customers' receipts at checkout, are on top of the savings offered to all rewards card users at the checkstands.

    The new ad campaign, meanwhile, will include both radio and full-page newspaper advertising.

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