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MATOSINHOS, Portugal -- Modelo Continente SGPS, the Portuguese retail arm of the Sonae Group, which operates a total of 480 stores, including hypermarkets, supermarkets and specialty retail stores in Portugal and Brazil, is installing self-checkout systems at its hypermarket locations.
The systems are the U-Scan units from Frisco, Texas-based Fujitsu Transaction Solutions, Inc. "Self-checkout will help further differentiate our stores and offer our customers new shopping services and options," said Paulo Magalhães, c.i.o. of Modelo Continente. "We selected Fujitsu's U Scan system because it was the solution that best fit our criteria of functionality, usability, cost and implementation deadline."
In fact, the initial store implementation time was reduced by more than half, due in part to a virtual point-of-sale (VPOS) messaging framework that had previously been created by Fujitsu's U-Scan engineers, according to the technology vendor. The VPOS is a piece of software code that enhances communications between the front-end cash registers and the self-checkout systems, speeding up the integration process. Once the Sonae in-house IT team had embedded the interface into the POS, Fujitsu modified the self-checkout software and the first system was live in the store just 57 days from the point of decision.
Modelo, which had gross sales of about 4 billion euros (U.S. $4.8 billion) as of Dec. 31, 2004, is the first retailer in Portugal to implement a self-checkout system, said Fujitsu.
"Self-checkout has arrived in Portugal and we expect to see continued growth throughout Europe, Asia and the rest of the world," said Austen Mulinder, president and c.e.o. at Fujitsu. "As self-checkout systems continue to grow in global popularity, leading retailers are selecting Fujitsu for its quality U-Scan technology and smooth implementation services."
According to Magalhães, the self-checkout systems are currently limited to Modelo Continente's Hypermarkets, but the company is considering expanding to other food and non-food chains under the Modelo umbrella.