Morrisons plans stores without cash registers

A sign from a Morrisons supermarket

Morrisons is testing supermarkets with no registers or staff that would simply let customers walk out with their shopping bags in an effort to compete with Amazon’s Fresh stores.

the grocer, which is the subject of a multi-billion pound takeover battle, has tested the concept, known as Project Sarah, internally at its headquarters in Bradford. The store is open to thousands of employees, and the FTSE 100 retailer plans to expand the idea more widely.

Britain’s fourth largest supermarket partners with US tech company AiFi, which uses cameras to track the objects that customers pick up and put in their baskets, and recharge them via a smartphone app.

A source close to Morrisons said the technology had worked well in the pilot shop, with “a few more in flight. The technology itself is phenomenal, using cameras instead of weights – it’s run very smoothly”.

The plans were first reported by the Post on Sunday.

Amazon is a pioneer in supermarkets that don’t have cash registers, launched its Amazon Fresh stores in the US and brought the concept to the UK in March with a store in Ealing.

A shopper scans his phone to enter an Amazon Fresh checkout-free supermarket in London's Ealing - Hollie Adams / Bloomberg

A shopper scans his phone to enter an Amazon Fresh checkout-free supermarket in London’s Ealing – Hollie Adams / Bloomberg

Amazon stores use cameras and shelf sensors to determine when items are taken or replaced.

Tesco was the first major British grocer to cover up plans to follow the American giant. It tested its own store at its headquarters in Welwyn Garden City and confirmed plans to develop similar stores in June.

Morrisons was at the center of a bidding war, accepting a bid from SoftBank-backed investment firm Fortress worth £6.3 billion.

US private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier and Rice is said to be working on a counter-offer, while Apollo is considering its options as a possible third candidate.

The Telegraph revealed for the first time that Apollo was considering an offer.