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Walmart is Replacing Self-Checkout in These States

Walmart is rolling out major changes for customers in some states, removing self-checkout machines relied on by many shoppers.

Two stores—one in St. Louis, Missouri, and the other in Cleaveland, Ohio—are scrapping the self-checkout machines in favor of the more traditional checkout service, according to reports. The change for customers in Missouri and Cleaveland comes after a similar move by the supermarket giant in New Mexico last year. Further still, other Walmarts are designating self-service kiosks for Spark delivery drivers or Walmart+ subscribers only, Business Insider reported.

Walmart store in Doral, Florida
A customer is helped by a worker at a self-service checkout in a Walmart store in Doral, Miami, Florida. Walmart in two states are reducing the amount of self-service checkouts.

Jeffrey Greenberg/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

“We believe the change will improve the in-store shopping experience and give our associates the chance to provide more personalized and efficient service,” a statement from Walmart shared with Business Insider said.

Newsweek approached Walmart for comment via their online form on Friday.

But the decision to close or change the do-it-yourself method of checking out may also be in part because, while convenient and often speedy, self-checkouts have been a seemingly easy target for shoplifters, with many stores including Walmart reporting thefts because the system does not require products to be scanned by an employee.

Dollar General, FiveBelow, and Target have all suggested they could scale back the use of self-checkouts to reduce theft.

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Target announced last month it would impose a 10-item limit for self-service checkouts in many of its stores.

Around the same time, Dollar General said it would remove the service from hundreds of its stores due to shoplifting and merchandise loss. In some of its stores, it said it would also limit the use of self-checkouts to just five items.

The hypermarket chain said it had used artificial intelligence to analyze purchases made at its self-checkouts and identified the stores that had the highest levels of stolen products or mis-scanned items.

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FiveBelow, meanwhile, said it would install a hybrid checkout system where staff would manually scan the items for customers at the self-checkout machines.

And it’s not without cause; A report from shopping startup Grabango said in November that produce taken through self-checkout lanes is 16 times more likely to go missing than in the traditional lanes.

Research from Professor Adrian Beck from the University of Leicester published in 2022 gathered data from 13 major U.S. and U.K. retailers, including Walmart, and found that larger retailers with around half of their sales made through self-checkouts should expect losses in the millions of dollars.

Another 2019 report from the National Association for Shoplifting Prevention in the U.S. surveyed thousands of small-time shoplifters and found that many saw the self-checkout machines as easy pickings due to the lack of staff present.