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    Sainsbury’s shoppers like ‘speedy’ self-checkout tills, says Simon Roberts

    REUTERS/Andrew Boyers/File Photo

    Sainsbury’s shoppers “like the speedy checkout” offered by the supermarket gaint’s self-serve tills, Sainsbury’s boss Simon Roberts has stated, as other supermarkets and stores scrap the self-checkout tills.

    Roberts said, “If you visit one of our supermarkets, what you’ll see is definitely more self checkouts than a number of years ago, because actually a lot of customers like the speedy checkout.”

    However, he added the supermarket would not give up on having cashiers in shops.

    “Over the last year, where we’ve put more self checkouts in, we’re always making sure that the traditional kind of belted checkout is there,” he said.

    Roberts’ commitment to the technology comes even as rivals scrap the devices. Northern grocer Booths replaced self-checkout machines with human cashiers at all but two of its 27 sites last year, after a survey of its customers found they were difficult to use.

    In the US, Walmart and Costco have rolled back the use of self checkouts.

    Roberts’ statement comes after concerns were raised that self-checkouts are aiding shoplifters, amid a wave of retail crime since the pandemic.

    Roberts said Sainsbury’s was “making sure we’re protecting ourselves from any theft”.

    It comes as Sainsbury’s, which also owns Argos, said on Thursday (25) it expects to make a profit of more than £1 billion this year as more customers sign-up to its Nectar card scheme and as inflation eases.

    It reported a 1.6 per cent rise in underlying pre-tax profits to £701m for the 12 months to March 2. Profits edged higher as strong food sales offset a weaker performance in general merchandise.

    UK’s second largest supermarket said its food business was “firing on all cylinders”, with grocery sales growing by 9.4 per cent over the past year.

    Roberts said that more than 87 per cent of all food sold was done so “in a physical store”.

    Supermarkets have been fighting hard for customers, with shoppers still feeling the effects of steep price rises over the past two years, which have ratcheted up the cost of living.

    Roberts added he expected inflation to remain in “low single digits” in the year ahead.

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