UK supermarket axes self-checkouts and puts staff back behind tills

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A UK supermarket has taken the bold move to axe self-checkout machines, in a hefty u-turn.

Whilst many businesses are relying more than ever on technology to take the weight off their staff, one supermarket chain is taking the opposite approach.

Citing complaints from customers as the reason for its decision to cull supermarket self-checkout machines, they’re instead pledging to put more staff on tills.

A UK supermarket chain has got rid of self-checkouts (Credit: Getty)

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The high-end supermarket, Booths, is hoping that the move will improve its customer service.

The self-service checkout machines will be cut from all but two of its stores for the time being. Keswick and Windermere are the only two keeping the machines, whilst there are 26 others that are getting rid.

“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 for Booths explained.

Elaborating on BBC Radio Lancashire, Booths managing director Nigel Murray, said:“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.

“We stock quite a lot of loose items – fruit and veg and bakery – and as soon as you go to a self-scan with those you’ve got to get a visual verification on them, and some customers don’t know one different apple versus another for example.

Booths has pledged to staff more tills (Credit: Getty)

“There’s all sorts of fussing about with that and then the minute you put any alcohol in your basket somebody’s got to come and check that you’re of the right age.”

The news comes after a survey from The Grocer, taken in July, recently found that customer service scores fell to new lows, adding that self checkouts played a big part.Long queues at the checkouts that were staffed were another issue, which adds merit to Booths’ argument for staffing more tills.

Will other supermarkets follow suit? It’s too early to tell, but it’s fair to say the move will spark some debate. 

Featured image: Getty