[THE INVESTOR] E-mart24 has eliminated cashiers at four of its convenience stores directly managed by the headquarters.
Three of these stores are located in Seoul, while the remaining is in Jeonju, North Jeolla Province. Among them, two in Seoul -- Seongsu and Jangan branch -- are unmanned only at night time, from midnight to six in the morning.
Customers swipe their credit card to enter the store, after which they can go to the self-checkout counter to pay for items. Alcohol is not available to prevent access by minors.
“These are pilot stores, and we are using them to see how things go,” a company spokesperson told The Investor. “We don’t have plans to add more (unmanned shops) as of yet.”
Concerns remain about the safety of the stores, and also about theft or break-ins, since there aren’t any preventive systems in place. It’s only after an act occurs that the company can check the surveillance camera.
Meanwhile, another convenience store operator 7-Eleven launched a store running on a similar concept in May. There’s a self-checkout counter at the store that will help phase out cashiers completely.
By Song Seung-hyun (firstname.lastname@example.org)