Tesco opens UK’s first self-service store


In a bid to speed up trips to the shops, supermarket giant Tesco has opened the first self-service store in Northampton.

The Tesco Express store has five self-service tills but no manned checkouts. There is, however, one member of staff available to authorise transactions for age-restricted items such as alcohol and knives.

The news will spread fear throughout the grocery industry and raise concerns over jobs in the future.

However, major rival Asda stressed it would not be following suit. A spokesperson for the chain said: “Hell would probably freeze over before we had a store with no customer interaction on the checkouts.

“You get to have a bit of a chat with some human interaction and that’s very important for a lot of people,” added the spokesperson.

However, the British Retail Consortium, the trade association for the retail industry, appeared to be in favour of the new store and said: “Customers are interested in how quickly they can pay and get out, and retailers are constantly focused on improving that.”

Tesco responded by saying it had not received any negative feedback so far.

Earlier this month, Tesco reported a 1.5% rise in pre-tax profits for the half year to the end of August.

The supermarket giant, which has a 30% share of the grocery market, is to expand into financial services by recently agreeing a partnership with Fortis.

The joint venture will form a new motor and household insurance company.

Tesco already offers credit cards, savings accounts and insurance via its Tesco Personal Finance (TPF) brand and announced plans late last year that it could be offering mortgages later this year.

The supermarket hopes to take advantage of the lack of confidence in existing banks by attracting disillusioned customers and is also planning to launch a range of mortgages in the near future.

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