Coop Sweden to open unmanned store

Customers will be able to scan and pay for goods using their phones

Retailer Coop Sweden is planning to launch two unmanned stores in the city of Gävle this autumn.

The stores, which will open on a 24-hour basis, will be operated by its member Coop Mitt, a co-operative running more than 60 stores in Gästrikland, Hälsingland, Dalarna, Uppland and Västmanland.

Customers will be able to use the co-op’s new self-scanning application to scan and pay for goods using their mobile phones.

Coop Sweden – also also known as the Swedish Co-operative Union – is a federation of 39 consumer co-ops. It forms part of Coop Norden, a Scandinavian retail chain co-owned with Coop Denmark and Coop Norway.

The pilot project is not the first for Coop Norden. Coop Norway opened an unmanned store in central Oslo in 2019, under its Coop Extra brand. The store functioned normally during daytime but converted into an unmanned store at night, with transactions managed digitally. It uses state-of-the-art technology to prevent thefts.

The store is equipped with cameras and automatic doors and customers needing to scan a QR code to be allowed in. Customers can shop using the self-checkout machines but pay via an app instead.

CEO of Coop Mitt, Meta Persdotter, said: “The focus on unmanned stores is a way for us to be in more places where we see potential. At the same time, we offer a solution for customers who want to be able to visit a Coop store regardless of the time of day.

“It will also be possible for us to reach more customers during high seasons or holidays – for example at ski resorts or during special events. In the long term, we hope that the pilot project will result in more unmanned stores around our area.”

CEO of Coop Sweden, Magnus Johansson, added: “The investment is about more people being able to buy good food when it suits them.

“This is a way for us, together with our members, to drive Sweden forward, create new opportunities for our consumers, and, with the help of digital development, offer a new type of shopping solution.”