IAS claims prices will be 10-15% cheaper Queuing at the checkout could soon be a thing of the past as more retailers invest in technology enabling customers to select, scan and purchase their goods without assistance from staff. This is the claim of International Automated Systems, the company behind the U-Check self-cashiering supermarket concept in the US. IAS marketing vice president Randy Johnson said: "There is significant demand for this technology among major retailers of both groceries and soft goods." IAS has secured deals with grocery retailers in New England to build "several hundred stores along the east coast" with work already progressing on 10 outlets in Pennsylvania. Prices at the first fully operational 50,000 sq ft U-Check opening in Washington County, Utah, next summer would be 10 to 15% cheaper than its nearest competitors, claimed Johnson. Fewer staff, greater inventory control and "virtually no pilferage" keep costs down and enable the store to pass savings on to consumers. And shoppers don't really miss the human touch, he said. "They actually seem rather fascinated by the technology." Customers scan their own goods and pay using cash, credit cards, or cheques. To get a discount, they can have their fingerprints digitised into a code put onto a magnetic stripe on their card, which also contains their bank account details. An instant check that the prints match the card details when payments are made prevents shoppers from using stolen credit cards. Transaction gates can also compare a driving licence photo fed into a machine with a real-time digital shot of the customer to further tackle fraud. l Albertson's is installing the NCR Self-Checkout system at its Atlanta and Boise, Idaho, stores. The US retailer worked with NCR Corporation to develop the system and installed the world's first such unit in Olympia, Washington, in May. Boise is the sixth store to get the system. Thom Imlay, Albertson's vice president front end systems and retail services, said: "It provides us with the option to convert the system from a self-checkout unit to a traditional checkout lane." {{NEWS }}