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Fujitsu and StoreNext Bag New Self Checkout Customers

FRISCO and PLANO, Tex. -- Self-checkout technology continues to gain momentum among large national grocery chains and independent regional grocers, as is evidenced by new contracts awarded to Fujitsu and StoreNext, and revealed this week at the Food Marketing Institute's (FMI) Marketechnics show in Washington, D.C.

During an interview at the tech show, StoreNext c.e.o. Ray Carlin told Progressive Grocer, "Consumers are beginning to see self-service in grocery as good customer service. Even if they don't use it, they like to know that the option is there."

Lakeland, Fla.-based Publix Super Markets, Inc., the largest and fastest-growing employee-owned supermarket chain in the United States with 850 supermarkets throughout the Southeast, plans to install Fujitsu's U-Scan systems later this year.

In Japan, supermarket chain Okuwa Co., Ltd. Rolled-out the first Fujitsu self-checkout system in Japan at quality supermarket Mesa Okuwa at the Garden Park Wakayama shopping center in Wakayama City, near Osaka.

StoreNext, a 50-50 joint venture of Fujitsu and Retalix Ltd. that focuses exclusively on serving the technology needs of independent grocers showed that independent chains have a growing interest in self-checkout systems. Sherm's Thunderbird Markets Inc., a four-store, family-owned independent grocer based in Medford, Ore.; and Hiller's Markets, another familiy-owned independent operator with six stores, will deploy the Fujitsu U-Scan self-checkout system at each of their locations.

Sherm's inaugural installation at the Thunderbird Market in Roseburg, Ore., went live in late October 2004 and has seen quick shopper acceptance and take-up, according to store manager Steve Rolston.

"Clearly, self-checkout is here to stay," said Austen Mulinder, president and c.e.o. of Fujitsu Transaction Solutions and co-chairman of StoreNext. "We're very bullish on the prospects for its continued global expansion as it plays a key role in our own aggressive growth strategies."
-- Joe Tarnowski
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