Tesco Working on Cashierless Stores as Competition With Amazon Heats Up
(Bloomberg) -- Tesco Plc has turned to an Israeli startup for help as it looks to become the next major food retailer to remove cashiers from some of its stores.
The U.K.’s largest grocery chain is working with Trigo Vision Ltd., which has developed a system of cameras and software that allows retailers to automatically charge customers, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Tesco and other grocers are racing Amazon.com Inc., which could open as many as 3,000 checkout-free Amazon Go stores in the U.S. and is expanding its partnership with the U.K.’s Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc. Scrapping cashiers could also help Tesco slim down its workforce over time and improve profit margins as it battles German discount chains Aldi and Lidl.
At a capital markets day earlier this month, Tesco said it’s looking at a range of new technologies, also including robot delivery vehicles. Checkout-free stores are “one thing we’re testing, but it’s not something we’re ready to roll out yet,” a spokeswoman said, declining to comment on any business partners for the technology.
Trigo, which has raised $7 million from Vertex Ventures and Hetz Ventures, has also partnered with Israel’s largest supermarket chain, Shufersal Ltd. The companies are working on the pilot branch in Tel Aviv, with the goal of rolling out the product in about a year.
Other startups, including Portugal’s Sensei, are competing with Trigo to provide grocers with checkout-free technology. Tesco has previously trialed an app that allowed customers to scan and pay for groceries using their smartphone. The Scan Pay Go app was limited to staff at Tesco’s headquarters last year.
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