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Independent retailers are hesitant about Booths’ decision to remove self-checkouts

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Booths, a company with 28 stores in Lancashire, Yorkshire and Cheshire, has made the decision to have staffed checkouts in all but two of its stores. The exceptions are at Keswick and Windermere, in Cumbria. The company stated that this policy change was based on customer feedback.

In a statement, Booths explained, “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. We have based this not only on what we feel is the right thing to do but also having received feedback from our customers. We will retain self-checkouts in two of our stores in the Lake District in order to meet the needs of our customers during very busy periods.”

Nigel Murray, the managing director, emphasized, “Our customers have told us this over time, that the self-scan machines that we’ve got in our stores they can be slow, they can be unreliable, they’re obviously impersonal.”

While Booths’ decision was met with skepticism from independent retailers, with one stating, “The cynic in me thinks it indicates big losses rather than better customer service,” others believe the move could potentially benefit the supermarket. It was noted that this decision could give Booths a strong unique selling point, with customers appreciating the assistance from staff when checking out with a trolley full of shopping.

Additionally, a recent report found the rise in self-checkouts had led to a steep decline in the number of supermarket job vacancies advertised in the run-up to Christmas.

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