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Cashier-free grocery store opens in Malmö

Clara Guibourg · 9 Mar 2012, 16:31

Published: 09 Mar 2012 16:31 GMT+01:00

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"As far as I know, we're the first in Sweden without any cashiers, but I think all stores will have self-checkout machines within a couple of years," said the store's founder Daniel Waidzunas to the Metro newspaper.

Supermarket chain ICA have also noticed the trend, but doubt that they'll be doing away with their cashiers. Several of their larger stores do have self checkout machines, however.

"We see that there's an interest among some customers for this technology." said Jenny Egeland, ICA's press secretary, told The Local.

Worries that new technology may put cashiers out of a job are unfounded, however, Egeland maintains.

"We're not looking to replace our cashiers. Absolutely not. This is an additional service which appeals to some, and provides a better opportunity for our staff to perform other duties."

Magnus Nelin, competitor Coop's head of communications, agrees.

"Our self-checkout systems provide a service for our customers, and allow our staff to do other duties around the store," he said to The Local.

"But even customers using the self-checkouts need help sometimes, so cashiers still need to be close at hand."

Self-checkout systems may still be a tad too futuristic for many Swedish shoppers.

"It's still pretty new. We've seen that many people still choose to use the traditional checkout, even though there's a longer queue for it," Maria Luthström, of Axfood's communication department, explained to The Local.

"We're hoping that more people will start using self-checkout, to reduce queues," she said.

Story continues below…

It may be some time yet before Sweden's major supermarket chains replace their cashiers with self checkout machines.

"We think it's important to have a mix of several types of checkout systems," explains ICA's Jenny Egeland.

"Both traditional checkouts and self checkouts are necessary."

Clara Guibourg (clarabara@hotmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

17:28 March 9, 2012 by tendance
Tech has no limit: This is just great. Getting reed of the cashiers however, i think is a bad idea. Self check machines a great but this should be an additional functionality to the store that will boost customers' shopping experience.
18:06 March 9, 2012 by Svensksmith
Less jobs.
19:14 March 9, 2012 by Tanskalainen
There are few things on this planet I hate worse than self-checkout but my stepson breezes through those like a hot knife through butter. Damn kids.
19:41 March 9, 2012 by Steggles
Not everything scans....and it's easy NOT to scan some items......there are only random checks......if you are lucky enough you don't get caught!

There must be so much walking out the doors & businesses will be losing.
20:48 March 9, 2012 by dizzymoe33
We have had them for many, many years in the States. They are nice to use but you still need to have someone available to help out if there is a problem with something not scanning correctly and for security reasons as well. In most of the stores now you have the option of either using Self-Check out or going through a check stand with a checker there to ring up your purchases.
21:41 March 9, 2012 by Radhus
I use them at Ikea almost every time I'm there and buying something. Most of the time they're quicker. The times when they're not are when people who think it's quicker for them and once it's their turn they don't have a clue what to do and incidently, hold the rest of the world up.

I've used them in other countries too and the general thing I've noticed is that when the traditional cashiers have long lines it's quicker to go through the self-service cashiers and then vice versa. I think it would be a disaster to have only self-service cashiers. You would never know which ones are the quickest. One may have a shorter line but the customer in front of you may not know what to do or they dispute a price and suddenly you're stuck. If this happens in a couple of cashiers at the same time then customers will be constantly chopping and changing from one queue to another all the time and in busy times this will spell chaos!

As for taking jobs I believe they do. At Ikea for instance their is one less member of staff for each space where there are are two of the self-serve cashiers. There are at least eight sets of two x cashiers which means there should be at least four more extra staff on the floor or in other sections. This is definitely not evident, especially in the restaurant and the information desk of the bed department!
22:55 March 9, 2012 by willowsdad
Thanks for the warning; I shan't be shopping there.
06:52 March 10, 2012 by Marc the Texan
"We're not looking to replace our cashiers. Absolutely not. This is an additional service which appeals to some, and provides a better opportunity for our staff to perform other duties."

Well of course you are looking to replace cashiers. That's the whole point. That is as much of a bald faced lie as someone could make. Stop lying about it. Fewer jobs at grocery stores is not a bad thing. It brings down the overall cost of distributing food to the public and makes labor available for more productive jobs in other industries. That is the basis for raising living standards everywhere and it always has been.
07:00 March 10, 2012 by SecondGen
You have to scan it yourself?

RFID!!!!! Roll the cart up to the RFID antenna, let it energize the RFID tags and read them as they transmit their item numbers! Bingo, your done!

People shouldn't have to unload their carts, just roll it to checkout and then to the car.

Your example is futuristic only in a 80's, pay for the pump way...
08:19 March 10, 2012 by glenquagmaire
One more less way to see and interact with other people in Sweden!!!
12:53 March 10, 2012 by calebian22
Automation is the way of the future in the west. Automated manufacturing is the only way to compete with the east because our cost of living is so high. This checking system is no different. Automated systems don't require sick leave, vacation time, or parental leave. One cashier can moniter and help customers at 6- 10 scanning stations. Time to go back to school people and actually learn a skill that is needed. Retrain rather than complain.
15:13 March 10, 2012 by johnny1939
I like the self check when I just have a few items and the check out lines are long. What I have a problem w/ is to have the time to put away several items before the machine yells at me and some helpful person steals the items I am unable to keep track of. In Sweden you have to look for your receipt in one place your coins in another and paper money in a third. It is quite a lot to keep track of on the same time particularly for an old gal like myself.
21:00 March 10, 2012 by bjorkon
Cashiers in sweden are more than useless. I stress myself regularly as they are sitting there scowling miserably at you with their arms folded while you struggle to pack your bags as the space previously occupied by your bread and eggs is swept aside to make room for the 2 other customers sharing the same belt space. Most of the main UK supermarkets pack (your fresh mould free food) for you, and wait for you patiently to finish packing before serving the next customer.
02:39 March 11, 2012 by Marc the Texan
I have to agree bjorkon, customer service at Swedish grocery stores is terrible at the check out. But I think it's pretty bad all over continental Europe, in my experience.
04:33 March 11, 2012 by Grokh
yay more unemployment!
23:17 March 11, 2012 by Spuds MacKenzie
Is this such a good idea in Malmö of all places?! As if crime was bad enough there already!!
04:41 March 12, 2012 by minzi
We don't have self-checkout service offered in China yet. I like this when I went to some western countries. The queues are much longer here in China most of time. But since we have more people here too, it is not necessary to take a longer time to wait.

However the self checkout will definitely cut off jobs. This is the big issue any using self checkout stores need to consider of .
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