UK Supermarket Ditches Self-Service Checkouts, Re-Employs Human Staff

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UK Supermarket Ditches Self-Service Checkouts, Re-Employs Human Staff

A supermarket chain in the UK has become the first in the country to return to fully-staffed human checkouts after axing all of its self-service tills.

The Supermarket said its unprecedented move was to give customers a better experience and a human touch.

The Supermarket axed self-service machines from its 28 upmarket stores in Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Cheshire, UK.

‘We believe colleagues serving customers delivers a better customer experience, and therefore we have taken the decision to remove self-checkouts in the majority of our stores,” a spokesperson told the BBC.

They continued:

“We have based this not only on what we feel is the right thing to do but also having received feedback from our customers.”

“Delighting customers with our warm northern welcome is part of our DNA and we continue to invest in our people to ensure we remain true to that ethos.”

The Daily Mail reported:

Only two of its shops in the Lake District will keep their self-service tills – which it says are to help staff at particularly busy times.

It is now looking to increase its stores number of staffed checkouts and kiosks as they renovate the stores.

And they are hiring in a number of roles – including customer assistants and Christmas temps.

“We are a business that prides itself on very high levels of service and very high levels of warmth and personal care with our customers,” Managing Director Nigel Murray told The Telegraph.

Calling unmanned tills’ clunky’ and ‘slow” he continued:

‘Having had some of these checkout self-checkout facilities in place for getting on for the best part of 10 years, we’ve come to the point in the decision where we don’t believe they allow us to do what we want to do.”

Instead, he said the Supermarket wanted to focus on “people with personality and warmth and interest in our customers.”

Customers have struggled with identification checks on age-restricted products, like alcohol, while others have complained about weighing machines being too sensitive.

It is now looking to increase its stores number of staffed checkouts and kiosks as they renovate the stores. Pictured: A display of freshly baked artisan bread in Ripon’s Booths, North Yorkshire

It marks a shift away from the trend towards self-checkouts amid warnings that the popularity of self-checkout machines in supermarkets has caused a decline in the number of shop floor vacancies.

The overall number of checkout-related openings has fallen from 2,748 in last October to 2,020 this month, according to job search engine Adzuna.

It added that checkout roles previously accounted for under 58 percent of supermarket jobs in October 2016, while last month they only accounted for 15 percent.

In the same period, the number of self-checkout machines in supermarkets has increased from 53,000 to around 80,000 in the last five years, according to analytics platform RBR Data Services.

The figures will cause fears among job searchers in the run-up to Christmas, who often count on supermarkets taking on extra staff to cope with festive shoppers.

READ: Major European Supermarket to Replace Meat Products with ‘Alternative Protein Sources’

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