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BOISE, Idaho - Albertsons, Inc. is taking supermarket self-checkout to the next level by introducing hand-held scanners that customers can use as they move up and down the aisles, packing their groceries as they shop, the Dallas Morning News reports.
The chain is launching the technology first in the Dallas area. The system, known as Shop 'n' Scan, has been tested in several stores here and will be implemented in all 103 area Albertsons stores by mid-April, according to the company.
Albertsons says shoppers have grown used to self-checkout lanes and are now ready for more technology that can make shopping faster and more convenient.
The Shop 'n' Scan system not only lets shoppers keep a running tally of their purchases, but also tells them when film orders and prescriptions are ready.
Albertsons is the first supermarket chain to introduce the technology in the United States, according to NCR Corp., one of the company's partners in the project.
An Albertsons spokesman said the company will take the scanners to other markets but hasn't determined which will get them next.
"Dallas is the most competitive market in the U.S., and we're committed to giving our customers the best shopping experience. Shop 'n' Scan is part of our brand promise to make life easier for them," said Judy Spires, president of Albertsons' Dallas-Fort Worth division.
Shoppers are quick to note out the scanners' advantage as a budgeting tool, Ms. Spires said. As far as the potential for theft, Ms. Spires added, people are usually honest and that hasn't proved to be a problem yet. However, the system has ways to protect stores from shoplifters, and people who check out the scanners also agree to be randomly checked.
Some supermarkets in Europe, among them Metro AG in Germany, have been implementing similar shopping cart scanning technologies.
The system that Albertsons has adopted was developed in a partnership announced last year by Symbol Technologies, Inc. and NCR.