M&S to press ahead with self-service till rollout
M&S is on a mission to cut costs by more than £400 million over the next five years, and among a raft of store initiatives is a plan to roll out hundreds more self-service tills.
In its year-end results statement this week, the UK retail giant said its wider programme aims to raise Clothing & Home adjusted operating margins from 8.7% currently to around 10%. Similarly, it wants Food margins to rise from 3.4% to around 4%.
To deliver this, M&S said it is investing in technology “to increase retail efficiency” to help save £150 million in costs this year alone. And near the top of the list is the introduction of “800 self-checkout tills (including within Clothing & Home) and further developments to scan and pay” to make stores more efficient.
The new rollout adds to hundreds that have already been installed, reducing the need for traditional forms of checkout.
M&S said around 70% of food sales at some stores are now made through either self-service checkouts or the retailer’s Scan and Pay mobile phone app. However, anecdotal evidence points to many shoppers still preferring to use traditional checkouts, avoiding hold-ups that can often disrupt a smooth self-checkout process. They can also be difficult to use for elderly or disabled customers.
But M&S has said it’s sensitive to feedback and is monitoring customer reaction to self-checkout. It stressed that customers will always have the choice to use traditional conveyor belt tills. However, that choice can mean long queues in some stores.
The retailer is currently in the middle of its stores overhaul, which will leave it with 180 larger stores that stock clothing and homeware, down from 247 currently. It’s also aiming to have 400 food stores.
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