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As part of an “open-ended” pilot, a Tesco Express store in England has gone completely self-service, with five customer checkouts, according to a published report.
Shoppers scan the barcodes on their items, and then pay themselves using cash or cards, though one or more members of staff are on hand to deal with any problems.
Tesco said consumers greeted the move positively, but concerns were raised about the possible impact on jobs of using entirely self-service checkouts.
England’s shop workers’ union, Usdaw, said it would make representations to Tesco outlining its concerns about such a setup.
A Tesco spokesman said: “This small trial is looking at how more self-service checkouts might provide a better service in small convenience stores by freeing up staff to be on the shop floor with customers.
"The same number of staff is working in the store; they are just doing different things,” the spokesman added. “The number of staff won’t change. The customer interaction won’t change. We’re creating over 11,000 jobs this year, so we’re creating jobs for communities across the country, not cutting them. New technology has a part to play in doing a better job for customers, but we will always have staff on hand to offer that personal touch.”
The British Retail Consortium, the trade association representing U.K. retailers, stressed the continuing need for in-store employees while companies adopted new ways to assist shoppers.