OPERATIONS

Report finds self-checkout moves into mainstream; shipments to grow 20% in 2012

BY Marianne Wilson

New York City — The global market for self-checkout has continued to thrive despite a difficult retail environment, according to a new report by London-based strategic research and consulting firm RBR.

The report, Global EPOS and Self-Checkout 2011, reveals that NCR is still the world’s largest supplier of self-checkout machines, accounting for two-thirds of units shipped in 2010. Germany’s Wincor Nixdorf is the second largest supplier, closely followed by IBM. Japan’s Fujitsu is the largest Asian supplier, but interestingly still ships fewer self-checkout units than NCR even in its home market of Japan.

Western Europe received the greatest number of self-checkout shipments, accounting for nearly half of global shipments in 2010, according to the study.

North America is the second largest region for self-checkout shipments, but due to its head start in deploying such terminals still has the largest installed base. North America and Western Europe together account for over 90% of the world’s self-checkout installations.

RBR forecasts that global self-checkout shipments will grow by 16% in 2011 and 20% in 2012, as new markets and new retailers join the trend towards increased self-service at POS. Moreover, the more established markets, such as the United States and United Kingdom, will see increased refresh activity as old terminals need replacing and as economies slowly improve.

RBR forecasts that by 2016 the installed base of self-checkout terminals will be 325,000, and annual shipments will exceed 60,000. Terminals will comprise a mix of self-service automation including not only full-scan, weigh and bag units but also self-pay terminals and mobile self-scanning systems.

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News

TGT vs WMT, price gap continues to narrow analysts say

BY CSA STAFF

The latest pricing studying from Deutsche Bank analyst Charles Grom shows a basket of 50 items is still cheaper at Walmart than Target, but by a slimmer margin than in the past.

“Walmart maintained its price leadership position over Target in our Octoberpricing comparison (across 50 SKUs), however the spread narrowed sequentially suggesting significant price investment by Walmart has yet to occur,” according to Grom. “In fact, the basket for the 22 identical items we have tracked since March 2006 rose 4.7% sequentially and 3.1% year-over-year at Walmart to a multi-year high level driven by inflation in food (cereal, coffee, soft drinks) and household items. Interestingly, for the second consecutive month, Target’s food basket (19 items or 38% of the mix) were below Walmart’s aided by temporary price cuts.”

The Deutsche Bank survey results released on Friday confirmed results of a similar pricing study released the prior day by Credit Suisse. According to the firm, which looks at prices on 60 items in the Dallas/Fort Worth and Chicago markets, Walmart and Target raised prices in September compared to August, but Walmart went up by 0.9% and Target by 0.5%. On a comparison to the prior year, Walmart’s price went up 5% and Target was up 2.6% and Target’s price gap versus Walmart decreased slightly from 1.7% to 1.3%.

“Despite Walmart’s publicly stated goal to be ‘relentless in widening the price gap,’ it seems that Walmart’s price gap is contracting. Although this could be a positive read-through for other retailers, it could also cause the company to renew its focus on strengthening its price leadership in the industry,” according to Credit Suisse.

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FINANCE

Zale uses NewComLink platform to expand customer financing options

BY Staff Writer

Austin, Texas — NewComLink announced that Zale Corp. has implemented the NewComLink platform as part of its new program to provide alternative financing options to its U.S. customers.

Zale announced the new alternative financing program on Aug. 31.

“We are continually looking for new ways to build additional long-term loyalty and sales,” said Ken Brumfield, VP of financial products for Zale. “The NewComLink platform allows us to leverage our current systems and processes to expand the financing options we offer our customers. The result is that even more customers can now purchase fine jewelry — easily and affordably.”

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