Booths supermarket axe self-service check-outs at Lancashire stores including Lytham, St Annes, Penwortham, Longton, Lancaster and Clitheroe
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The supermarket chain is stripping all self-service tills from 25 of its stores, including all branches in Lancashire.
Only two stores in the Lake District – in Windermere and Keswick – will retain the self-service machines to help staff during ‘very busy periods’.
As part of its renewed focus on customer service, Booths will also increase the number of staffed checkouts and kiosks as part of its ongoing store renovation programme.
The move is in contrast to a wider industry shift which has seen UK supermarkets gradually replace traditional checkouts with increasing numbers of automated self-service tills.
Booths said its decision to axe self-service was in response to feedback from customers who voiced a preference for being served by staff when paying for their shopping.
Supermarket bosses have claimed the shift to self-service has helped them cut costs and provide a quicker service for customers. But many shoppers have expressed frustration at the trend, which some claim detracts from the overall customer service experience.
Customers having to wait for a store colleague to visually ID them when buying alcohol, or issues with checkouts registering the correct items or weights were some of the frustrations experienced by shoppers.
Booths also plans to expand its counter format – which includes meat, fish and cheese – into new categories, as well as installing new pay points at counters. The new pay points will also ease the burden on the front checkouts as customers will be able to spread their payment around the store.
A Booths spokesperson said: “We believe colleagues serving customers delivers a better customer experience and therefore we have taken the decision to remove self-checkouts in the majority of our stores.
"We have based this not only on what we feel is the right thing to do but also having received feedback from our customers, who prefer a more personalised service.
"Since 1847, the Booths founding philosophy is to ‘sell the best goods available, in attractive stores, staffed with first class assistants’.
“Delighting customers with our warm Northern welcome is part of our DNA and we continue to invest in our people to ensure we remain true to that ethos.
"We will retain self checkouts in two of our stores in the Lake District in order to meet the needs of our customers during very busy periods.”