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USA: Dollar General will test and learn from cashierless technology

Updated: Aug 1, 2023

Discount Variety Retail Chain Dollar General (listed NASDAQ: DG) is experimenting with cashierless technology in one of its North Carolina stores.

The discount retailer has partnered with AI retail tech company AiFi to offer the cashierless technology in Banner Elk, N.C., reports Business Insider. AiFi is a startup that positions itself against Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, and currently has systems in over 100 stores globally. “Consistent with our ongoing strategy to continually look for new ways to meet our customers’ value and convenience needs, we recently piloted a store with frictionless technology,” Dollar General told Insider. “While we do not currently plan to expand this technology, we instead will continue to test and learn.” The tech really got its start with Amazon and its “just walk out” concept, which first came on the market in 2018. The tech involves a number of cameras which track what items shoppers leave the store with. So far, traditional grocers have been hesitant to adopt or experiment with the tech.

Over the last several years, Amazon had been marching ahead with the rollout of its Just Walk Out and cashierless tech, but more recently the company announced it would be closing stores in high density areas like New York, San Francisco, and Seattle. Dollar General lessened expectations for 2023 following mixed Q1 results. During the first 13 weeks of the year, which ended on May 5, Dollar General experienced year-over-year increases in net sales (6.8%) and same-store sales (1.6%) while taking a slight hit in operating profit, which was down 0.7% to just over $740 million.

The retailer was originally calling for net sales growth in the range of 5.5% to 6% for the year, but is now planning on a rise of 3.5% to 5%. Same-store sales growth was set at 3% to 3.5%, but has been revised to 1% to 2%. Capital expenditures, however, also have been lowered from as much as $1.9 billion originally to $1.6-1.7 billion. Along with the drop in financial earnings, Dollar General also is tapping the brakes on growth. The retailer expects to complete 3,110 projects this year instead of 3,170. There will be 990 new store openings, 2,000 remodels, and 120 store relocations.


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