scorecardWalmart is stripping some stores of self-checkout lanes and bringing back cashiers
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Walmart is stripping some stores of self-checkout lanes and bringing back cashiers

Dominick Reuter   

Walmart is stripping some stores of self-checkout lanes and bringing back cashiers
Retail2 min read
  • Walmart is pulling self-checkout lanes from at least three stores in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  • The company is also testing varying degrees of hands-on employee assistance with self-service kiosks.

Walmart is pulling self-checkout lanes from at least three stores, requiring shoppers to have an employee ring up their orders.

Two stores in Albuquerque, New Mexico, were recently renovated to replace the checkout lanes, and changes to a third area store are slated to be finished in October, Walmart spokesperson Josh Havens told Insider.

"We continually look at ways to provide our customers with the best shopping experience and that includes adjusting the checkout area in stores," he said.

The three stores losing self-checkout are at 400 Eubank NE, 2701 Carlisle NE, and 2266 Wyoming NE, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

Walmart declined to say whether similar redesigns were underway at other US locations, but the company did say there is no plan for the widespread removal of the kiosks.

Walmart has previously said it would assign more employees to the self-checkout kiosks to offer hands-on assistance to customers — in some cases ringing up entire purchase for them.

One concept announced in 2020 does away with traditional lanes in favor of a checkout zone where shoppers can opt for full-service or scan and pay by themselves, and CTV reported in August that a Walmart in Ottawa, Ontario, was adding more staff to self-checkout lanes.

When a separate Albuquerque Walmart closed in March, the company cited "underperformance," but several shoppers told Insider the location was routinely targeted by criminals. Police records showed more than 700 calls to the store or its vicinity in 2022 alone.

Walmart does not publicly disclose details about shoplifting, but dozens of employees and customers told Insider last year the company's reliance on self-checkout has led to an increase in theft.

Other companies that either engage more with customers at self-checkout or don't use the option much at all, such as Costco, Best Buy, Lowes's, and Tractor Supply, have reported relatively low incidents of missing inventory.

US retailers lost more than $112 billion to inventory shrink, including over $41 billion due to external theft, according to an industry survey published earlier this week.

Self-checkout forces retailers to make a trade-off between labor-cost savings and the increased expense of theft, according to Matt Kelley, who was a senior manager of asset protection at Home Depot, and is now a loss-prevention expert at security-tech company LiveView Technologies.

"Inherently, that means there's going to be less eyes on a transaction," Kelly told Insider last year. "And there's going to be more of an opportunity for the dishonest people to be dishonest."

If you are a Walmart worker or shopper at a location where self-checkout is changing and would like to share your perspective, please get in touch with Dominick via email. Responses will be kept confidential and Insider strongly recommends using a personal email and a non-work device when reaching out.




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