Tesco opens its first cash-free store in central London

Only electronic payments accepted in new High Holborn Tesco Express


Tesco has opened its first high street cashless store in central London. Shoppers will be able to use debit cards, credit cards and Apple Pay on their phones, but not coins or notes.

Britain’s biggest supermarket chain made the move in response to more shoppers using cards and other forms of payment as an alternative to cash.

The new store, a Tesco Express in High Holborn, central London, features self-service tills for shoppers in order to speed up the retail experience. The store accepts a range of electronic payment methods.

Tesco first trialled cash-free shopping at its own Welwyn Garden City headquarters two years ago. It is also trying out a checkout-free option in Welwyn where customers can scan products on their phone and pay as they leave the store.

A Tesco spokesman said the High Holborn store would help customers pay more quickly. “We are looking forward to hearing customer feedback,” he said.

If successful, the High Holborn blueprint will be rolled out elsewhere.

Tesco’s move comes after Amazon has enjoyed success with Amazon Go, its cashier-free stores in the US. Today, Amazon Go announced it was opening a much larger store in a residential area in order to test the concept on shoppers looking for more of a supermarket experience. Until now, Amazon Go stores have been located in city centre sites and aimed at office workers for whom speed is paramount.

Tesco has previously said some of its convenience stores in Britain were already only receiving 20 per cent of payments by cash, making a cashless roll-out likely in future.

Tesco also announced today that it was changing the way it provided bakery products, which could mean 1,816 bakery staff being made redundant or redeployed.

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