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    Kroger Finalized Big Self-checkout Program

    CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here has chosen Fujitsu Transaction Solutions as its sole strategic partner for self-checkout systems.

    CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here has chosen Fujitsu Transaction Solutions as its sole strategic partner for self-checkout systems.

    The three-year hardware, software and services agreement between Kroger and Fujitsu is believed to be among the grocery industry's largest commitments for self-checkout systems in 2005, and the largest for Fujitsu since it acquired the U-Scan product line and assets in April 2004.

    The complete line of U-Scan terminals enables Kroger to modify the model and layout of the systems for each location depending upon the store's design and customer traffic. Kroger currently offers self-checkout in more than 1,600 stores.

    "Kroger has long been a self-checkout pioneer in the grocery industry, and we're thrilled to have earned the right to help them continue that journey," said Austen Mulinder, president and c.e.o. at Frisco, Texas-based Fujitsu. "This is a major milestone in integrating U-Scan into our business model and underscores our bullish sentiment on the continued strong growth we'll see in our self-checkout market share. It also reflects rapid consumer acceptance and adoption of self-checkout in general, helping Fujitsu U-Scan quickly become the leading system in the grocery marketplace."

    "Our studies show that retailers like Kroger continue to invest aggressively in self-checkout," said Greg Buzek, president of IHL Consulting Group, a retail-focused market research and consulting firm based in Franklin, Tenn. "Consumers have embraced the technology, which is expanding the number of lanes in the market and driving the value of transactions processed through self-checkout."

    Fujitsu acquired the U-Scan business from Montreal-based Optimal Robotics Corp. in April 2004, making numerous hardware and software enhancements to the product line while adding its extensive services offering to U-Scan customers.

    At the end of the third quarter of fiscal 2005, Kroger operated (either directly or through its subsidiaries) 2,510 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 32 states under two dozen local banners including Kroger, Ralphs, Fred Meyer, Food 4 Less, King Soopers, Smith's and Smith's Marketplace, Fry's and Fry's Marketplace, Dillons, QFC and City Market. Kroger also operated (either directly or through subsidiaries, franchise agreements, or operating agreements) 792 convenience stores, 431 fine jewelry stores, 567 supermarket fuel centers and 42 food processing plants.

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