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Tesco invests in innovative cash handling tool

British manufacturer Cash Bases has secured a multi-million pound deal with UK grocery giant Tesco that will see its new SMARTtill cash drawers placed at point of sale (POS) in stores around the country.

After initial pilots, the retailer will install the innovative system at 10,000 of its checkouts by the end of this year. The technology enables coins and notes to be automatically counted after each transaction and reconciled to each sale made – speeding up a previously time-consuming process.

This technology, which is owned by Cash Bases and is in the process of having a patent approved, will allow the retailer to monitor cash-flows of any given till, ensure adequate change is available and alert management when cash levels reach minimum or maximum values.

Phil Stone, managing director of the vendor, told Essential Retail: "Cash is still used in the majority of retail transactions with the consequential risk of cash losses to stores, be it theft, staff errors or time spent counting and managing cash.

"This applies whether it is a small independent shop or a high street retailer. At the moment, we have pilots with leading supermarket chains in the UK, and others in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain, too."

Last month, supermarket group Morrisons announced it would be overhauling its technology systems, which until recently had included manual cash counting in many of its stores. Emerging technology, such as that provided by SMARTtill, promises to reduce the amount of time it takes companies to complete these processes and boost efficiency.

Enhanced security is another factor that Cash Bases uses as a selling point for its SMARTtill system.

Theft from employees continues to be an issue within the global retail industry, with The Global Retail Theft Barometer 2011 from the Centre for Retail Research suggesting that dishonest employees caused $41.7 billion (£26.7 billion) of losses across the industry. This equated to 35% of total shrinkage.

Total global shrink in 2011 reportedly cost retailers $119 billion, an average of 1.45% of global retail sales, showing how enhanced security might boost the bottom line.

Stone commented: "Due to constant till checks and reconciliation at the POS, SMARTtill Manager immediately warns store managers in the back office when a discrepancy occurs and identifies related information such as cashier, till, transaction number and time and date.

"It eliminates the need of trawling through a whole day's CCTV footage and allows the cash office to focus on specific times of the day instead. Due to the monitoring of all cash movements, it enhances cashier's accuracy and honesty, and the reduction of cash losses begins with immediate effect."

Commenting on the SMARTtill deal, a Tesco spokesperson said: "Despite the various transaction technologies available today, we find that many of our customers still use cash as their main method of payment. By giving our colleagues more time to help customers at the checkout, SMARTtill will help us to provide the very best possible customer service."

The SMARTtill technology will be on show at RBTE 2014.