Aldi has announced that its first-ever checkout-free store is planned to open in Greenwich.

It will allow customers to shop at the supermarket and exit without the need to pay at a till.

Aldi said shoppers will scan a smartphone app to enter the store and can then pick up their shopping and walk out the store.

Technology in the stores will track the items picked up, before sending shoppers an email receipt and charging them automatically using their chosen payment method.

The trial comes after Amazon opened a number of stores across London using similar technology.

Aldi, the UK’s fifth-largest supermarket group, said that colleagues are currently testing the site and that further trials will be carried out by members of the public.

The News Shopper asked Aldi for more details about the Greenwich store plans but a spokesperson said that the chain is "not disclosing any further details at this stage".

Giles Hurley, chief executive officer for Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “We are always looking to redefine what it means to be a discount retailer, and the technology involved in this trial will give us a wealth of learnings.

“We are really excited to be testing this concept that will enable customers to pick from our range of quality products, all available at unbeatable prices, then leave the store without having to pay at a till.”

The first concept store will employ approximately the same number of colleagues as a typical Aldi Local, the retailer’s smaller format shop, the group said.

It comes as Aldi announced today (Monday) that it is set to create 2,000 new jobs next year in addition to 7,000 created in the last two years, as part of a £1.3 billion investment drive.

The discount supermarket chain made the investment announcement, which will run for two years, as bosses revealed sales soared 10.2% in the UK and Ireland in 2020 to £12.3 billion.

Bosses added the number of customers during the period increased from 17.6 million to 17.8 million, although pre-tax profits fell 2.5% to £264.8 million.

No details on trading in the first nine months of 2021 were immediately provided.

Whilst other UK-based supermarkets give more regular updates on current trading, Aldi is not obliged to and is instead publishing last year’s results as it files its accounts with Companies House.

Giles Hurley, chief executive for Aldi UK and Ireland, said: “As well as delivering record sales, we continued to invest for growth, deploying over £600 million in stores and distribution centres across the UK.

“This helped to create thousands of much-needed jobs and support for British farmers and manufacturers.

“Whilst the cost of responding to the pandemic dampened profits, our decision to return business rate relief was the right thing to do.”

Aldi repaid the business rates saved from the Government’s scrapping of the tax during the pandemic, following similar moves by Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Asda and Lidl.

Looking forward, the supermarket announced its click and collect services have been rolled out to 200 stores, offering shoppers the chance to order online for the first time – although home deliveries are still not available.

As part of the £1.3 billion investment over the next two years, bosses said this would include around 100 new stores added to the 920 sites already operating.

The expansion of its logistics infrastructure includes a new 1.3 million sq ft site in Leicestershire.

There was no initial mention by Aldi of any supply chain issues or suggestions of price inflation, although the company said it had reduced prices to the tune of £238 million last year.

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