Tesco announces huge change for customers who use self-service checkouts

Tesco is preparing to launch its first checkout-free store after a successful trial for staff at its head office.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 10:17 am

The supermarket giant hopes to match the appeal of similar scan-and-go stores which are already being rolled out by Amazon in the UK.

Chief executive Ken Murphy said plans are in the early stages but it hopes to open its first checkout-free store in the coming weeks and months in a more urban environment – the location of which has yet to be revealed.

“We're currently trialling frictionless shopping at our colleague store in Welwyn Garden City, and will be extending this trial in the coming months,” he said.

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Tesco is preparing to launch its first checkout-free store

“We have a partnership with a firm called Trigo, and we have the system installed in our express store in Welwyn Garden City, and we’ll extend that to another store in the coming weeks and months just to check it in a more urban environment.

“I would describe it as early days. I certainly wouldn't be getting too excited about it just yet. It's leading-edge technology, but it is a learning curve, as far as I'm concerned, so I think we have a while to go yet before we'd say it's ready for roll-out, that's for sure.”

The news comes as Tesco revealed sales managed to stay in positive territory in the 13 weeks to May 29 compared with a year ago, despite the same period in 2020 being during the height of the first lockdown when supermarket shelves were stripped bare.

Mr Murphy said the pandemic boom in online shopping is continuing and demand for home cooking remains strong, with cooking and baking products up 20 per cent.

He said: “The key changes that we’re seeing since the restrictions have been eased is a return to more normalised shopping patterns.

“We’re seeing higher frequency shopping and we’re seeing smaller basket sizes.

“We’re also seeing a shift again towards the weekend days being our peak shopping days in terms of traffic.

“There’s definitely been a shift back to eating out (but) there continues to be a strong demand for eating at home.

“As a consequence, things like beer, wine and spirits have stayed remarkably strong.”

Recent good weather and the Euro 2020 football tournament have also helped, Mr Murphy added.