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Sainsbury’s links with Amazon to open checkout-free store

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Sainsbury’s has teamed up with Amazon to open a store where customers can pick up items and leave without having to use a till.

It opened the store in Holborn, central London, on Monday, yards away from similar checkout-free stores from Amazon and Tesco.

Sainsbury’s is using Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology for the store, in Amazon’s first partnership with a third-party international customer for the technology.

It is currently used across eight Amazon Fresh stores in London, as the retail giant continues to expand its bricks and mortar operation.

SmartShop Holborn Circus
The shop near Sainsbury’s headquarters had previously been open to staff in a trial (Sainsbury’s/PA)

The Sainsbury’s store will see customers use its SmartShop app when entering the store, before picking up items and leaving as cameras are used to recognise which products are purchased before charging customers to their credit or debit card linked to the account.

The new store will be on the site of Sainsbury’s first till-free store, which it opened in 2019.

However, the supermarket group ended the trial months later after complaints from shoppers who found the shopping experience difficult.

The UK’s second largest grocer said it has seen a recent surge in popularity for its SmartShop app, which has seen sales numbers increase by 173% year-on-year.

Clo Moriarty, Sainsbury’s retail and digital director, said: “We are always looking at new ways to make shopping easy and convenient for our customers.

“We are excited about launching ‘SmartShop Pick & Go’, which offers contactless, checkout-free shopping to our customers, and are looking forward to hearing their feedback.”

Dilip Kumar, Amazon’s vice president of physical retail and technology, said: “We are thrilled to collaborate with Sainsbury’s to enable their Holborn Circus checkout-free convenience store powered by our Just Walk Out technology.

“We’re excited to bring Just Walk Out technology to our first customer internationally with Sainsbury’s.

“With no tills, no checkout lanes, and no self-service scanners, we can’t wait to hear how busy Londoners enjoy the experience.”

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