Morrisons to Launch Unmanned Store

The supermarket will let customers bag items, then leave without checking out.

July 20, 2021

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BRADFORD, West Yorkshire, U.K.—Morrisons will soon unveil a store without employees that lets customers place items to purchase directly into bags, then leave without a formal checkout, This Is Money reports. The grocery chain has been working on the concept for months and plans to open a pilot store to the public soon.

Customers can access the store via an app, which is scanned upon entry. Digital cameras will track shoppers and record products placed into bags. The prototype concept for the store and its technology—called Project Sarah—is compact and designed to be “transportable,” which means an entire unit could be placed directly into each location. The compactness of the store structure means it could fit into smaller areas traditional Morrisons wouldn’t fit, such as train stations, urban high streets and university campuses.

Future versions of the unnamed shops could be larger than the test model, including a fixed bricks-and-mortar stop.

Tesco has a similar project in the works, as the rivals battle to be the first to open a “frictionless” store this fall. Amazon Fresh stores have also debuted in the U.K. this year. “We recognize that U.K. customers want to shop in a convenient way, so we really think they will appreciate being able to walk in and walk out with the shopping they need,” said Matt Birch, who leads Amazon Fresh Stores UK.

To read more about the evolving landscape of the checkout lane, read “The ‘Vision’ of Future Checkout” in NACS Magazine.