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Walmart testing expansion of self-checkout in response to coronavirus pandemic

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Walmart will test-pilot a store run entirely through automated self-checkout lanes at one of its Arkansas locations in an effort to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

A company spokesperson told Fox Business the retail giant will remove all conveyor belt lanes and replace them with self-checkout counters at its Fayetteville Supercenter, with a goal of exploring whether the alteration speeds up purchases and improves infection control.

The company said that while the pilot program could be rolled out to other stores, any future plans depend heavily on customer feedback, Fox Business reported.

Employees will still be present in the store to assist customers with self-checkout and to check out groceries in the typical way for any customers who prefer it, according to the network.

The largest U.S. retailer had announced in May that it would streamline its apps to simplify online shopping. The company last month also introduced Walmart Pay, its touch-free payment system, in hopes of further reducing transmission of the virus in-store. Walmart has seen a 74 percent year-over-year increase in online sales amid the pandemic, according to first-quarter earnings data.

Same-store sales have also increased about 10 percent at Walmart’s U.S. locations, attributable largely to sales of food and health and wellness products, and total revenue increased 8.6 percent from last year to $134.6 billion. However, Walmart also reported $900 million in costs related to the pandemic.

Tags Arkansas Coronavirus Walmart

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