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Tesco trialling checkout-free supermarkets and eyeing meal kit market

| Innovation and technology

Tesco has revealed that it has been experimenting with checkout-free stores in response to recent moves by Amazon.

The online giant began testing its first ‘Amazon Go’ format in Seattle at the end of last year.  It allows shoppers to pick up their groceries and simply walk out without having to pay at the checkout. The innovative format uses sensors to track customers as they walk around doing their shopping and record items they pick up, with any purchases automatically billed to their Amazon account when they exit the store.

With Amazon recently acquiring the Whole Foods Market chain, analysts have suggested that the technology could start to be introduced in stores in both the US and UK in the not so distant future.

Tesco has now revealed it is also investigating similar technology. Asked whether Tesco is looking at the checkout-free model during a press conference last week, the group’s Chief Executive Dave Lewis told Business Insider: “We trial lots and lots of things – the thing you refer to, yes…. When we’re at a place where we’ve got something we want to launch to all customers, we’ll launch it and we’ll communicate it. We’ve been doing it for a while.”

Meanwhile, asked if he was concerned about the growth of recipe box services such as HelloFresh and Gousto, Lewis said: “There’s no reason we couldn’t put together ingredients and serve it to customers as a meal kit in stores if that’s what they want from us. There are a number of trials in our stores about exactly that so we can change our offer if ultimately that’s how customers want us to operate.”

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