Walmart has cut ties with inventory robotics start-up Bossa Nova and will return to staff-based methods of stock-checking in its stores. 

The world’s largest bricks-and-mortar retailer had been using the robots in around 500 of its 4,700 stores. The machines roamed the aisles to check inventory and send alerts to staff if certain items needed replenishing. 

But according to The Wall Street Journal, Walmart has ended its partnership with Bossa Nova after finding simpler and more cost-effective ways for its staff to manage stock, without using robots.

Boss of Walmart’s core US business John Furner is also said to have harboured concerns about shoppers’ reaction to the robots. 

Walmart chief executive Doug McMillon told CNBC last month that the retailer was still having “sporadic” availability issues in its larger sheds, particularly in non-food categories.

“You may find that we’re not as in stock on crafts and fabrics as we should be. There have been some toys that we’ve been out of stock on,” McMillon said.

“If I could change one thing about our business right now, it would be to have an even higher in-stock level. 

“We’re trying to make sure we’re ready to go all the way to Christmas and beyond, but we’ve still got some recovery to do.”

Despite axing the Bossa Nova robots, Walmart is pressing ahead with other digital and technology-focused investments.

It launched its Walmart+ subscription service in September and last week said it would turn four of its stores into ecommerce laboratories. Those sites will test a number of digital tools and other strategies aimed at speeding up stock replenishment and fulfilling online orders.