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Now check-outs to go self-service.

Byline: Graham Hiscott

A NEW supermarket check-out is due to be launched across the country which relies on shoppers doing all the work themselves.

The self-service check-outs allow the customer to scan items, put them in carrier bags, pay,and even get cashbackall without the need for acashier.

The first of the check-outs have been installed at the Sainsbury's store in Hazel Grove, Stockport, Greater Manchester, and will be followed by a wider trial in six additional branches.

The chain say if the concept is a success they will use it across the country from later this year.

The self checkouts are already in use at the Sainsbury's-owned Shaw's chain of supermarkets in the US where they process more than one billion transactions a year.

Customers fill up their basket or trolley in the normal way but when finished go to one of the special check-outs which is equipped with an interactive touch screen.

They are asked to pass the bar code on the product over a scanner and then place it into a carrier bag situated on a set of scales. Fresh produce, such as fruit and vegetables,are weighed in advance and given a sticker with abarcode.

Every item in store has had its exact weight entered into a computer, allowing the check-out to tell exactly what has gone into the bag and cutting down any risk of theft,according to Sainsbury's.

After all the groceries have been packed the customer can either pay with cash by inserting a note or debit or credit card.

Sainbury's say only a small number of self-style check-outs will initially be installed and that the majority will remain the traditional version, complete with cashier. Malcolm Davies, service manager at Sainsbury's, said: ``As a nation, we are famous for our talent of the orderly queue, with the average person in Britain spending two hours in queues every week, even with internet banking and shopping. ``However, I think many of our customers would happily break the habit for the added convenience of self-service.

``We will continue to offer traditional checkouts alongside self service for those who prefer a more personal service and there will always be members of staff on hand to help customers with the new-style checkouts.''
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Aug 6, 2003
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