Tesco has opened a superstore at Hove with a third of the till points as unmanned self- checkouts. The store will have nine self-checkout lanes out of 27, making up the entirety of its express tills.
The move marks a significant commitment to self-checking out for the retailer which, according to its Electronic Point of Sale (EPoS) supplier Productivity Solutions, is planning to install a further 77 self-checkouts across 16 stores.
Tesco has already piloted 20 self-checkout tills in five stores over the past 12 months. The order for till points will be shared by Productivity Solutions and NCR.
Although Tesco has upped its commitment to self-checking out, the retailer insists it is still in the pilot stage.'We are looking at how far we can push the boundaries of self-checkout,' said Tesco Service Choice project manager Stine Hope. 'We are asking ourselves how many self-checkouts we can actually put in.'
Hope maintains that the strategy has been driven by customer demand, and said her research points to a high acceptance among Tesco customers.
She said shoppers believe that self-checkout transactions are completed faster than manned till transactions, although research shows there is no noticeable speed increase. Hope said that privacy is also a positive factor in customer take-up.
Hope insisted that Tesco's move to self-checking out will not endanger jobs.
'The people that would be manning the tills will be used to give better service to customers. In any case we'll still need attendants to oversee the self-checkout tills. We see it as an opportunity to improve our service to customers.'
The Hove store opening is the most serious commitment yet to self-checking out from the retail sector, but follows similar announcements from M&S, Oxford Swindon & Gloucester Co-op, Sainsbury's, and Somerfield.