AN Oxford, Swindon & Gloucester Co-op outlet in Cheltenham is believed to be Europe's first all self-scanning convenience store.
The former Alldays branch in the town's Montpellier district has been completely refurbished as a Co-op Today store and features the latest U-scan technology designed to speed up the process of paying for and bagging customer shopping.
The four check-outs offer all the facilities of conventional tills including cash or credit card payment and cash back facilities.
Eight other OSG stores have some self-scanning facilities, but the new Co-op Today outlet is the first to go completely automatic, a move that appears to have been welcomed by the many commuters who dash in on their way to and from work to buy newspapers, snacks, ready meals and a bottle of wine.
The switch has not impacted on staffing levels, but has allowed staff to spend more time on the shop floor assisting shoppers.
Spokesman Adrian Barradell said: "It's very clever technology and it seems to have gone down well with all age groups. There are always staff nearby to assist if necessary and someone has to be available to verify age when a customers scans something that is age restricted such as beer or wine.
"We can't be absolutely certain, but we are 99 per cent sure the store is the first of its type in Europe and it's definitely here to stay. We are looking at the possibilities of rolling out the technology to other stores, but it will only happen in those outlets that fit the same small and busy profile."
Pictured above: Shoppers Joan Bainbridge and Bob Howes, helped by manager Salim Hussein, use one of the new self-serve checkouts.