Tesco has opened its first checkout-free store in central London as Britain's biggest supermarket counters Amazon's "just-walk-out" technology.
Britain's biggest supermarket chain has expanded a tech trial to the Tesco Express store on High Holborn, where customers can shop and pay without scanning products or using a checkout.
The move follows in the footsteps of Amazon's push to corner a slice of the UK grocery market by opening five checkout-free shops in the capital this year.
Kevin Tindall, managing director of Tesco Convenience, the chain was "constantly looking for ways to improve the shopping experience" and the innovation would help customers "save a bit more time".
"This is currently just a one-store trial but we’re looking forward to seeing how our customers respond," he added.
Customers must register for Tesco's smartphone app and check in at the store's entrance before picking up the products they want to buy in the Holborn store.
Tesco has been defending its corner from Amazon's incursion into the grocery market, despite holding a 27.5pc share compared with the technology company's 3pc slice, according to Kantar data.
The supermarket has expanded its rapid one-hour delivery service Whoosh across London and Bristol in June after trialling the service in Wolverhampton.
The move formed one of the key planks of Tesco boss Ken Murphy's plan to transform the chain into a digital business after shopping habits shifted online during the pandemic.
The Big Four grocer's online like-for-like sales have climbed 74pc over the past two years and exceeded £6bn.
The roll-out of "GetGo" builds on the checkout-free pilot it launched in Welwyn Garden City two years ago.
The London store will use technology from Trigo, an artificial intelligence start-up, that uses a combination of cameras, weight sensors and apps so shoppers can pick up products and walk out of stores.
Aldi is also using the Israeli-based company's tech for a checkout-free trial, while Morrisons has been testing a concept known as "Project Sarah" at its Bradford head office.
Morrisons is working with the American tech company AiFi on its till-free push and plans to open more pilot stores.
Sainsbury’s was forced to reinstall tills at a checkout-free shop two years ago after it realised that “not all customers were ready” for the move.
Michael Gabay, the co-founder and chief executive of Trigo, previously told the Telegraph that there would be dozens of checkout-free stores in Europe, “hundreds” in 2023, and “in 2024 you will see, I believe, 700-800 stores of this concept”.
The Office for National Statistics estimates that about two-thirds of cashier jobs in the UK are at high risk of being replaced by technology.