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Amazon: No plans to roll out cashierless model at Whole Foods

Amazon.com Inc.'s just-walk-out approach to checkout will not be rolled out to Whole Foods Market Inc. stores for now, two executives who developed the model said March 18.

Speaking to an audience at Shoptalk 2018 in Las Vegas, Amazon Go Vice President Gianna Puerini said the e-commerce giant is focusing on refining its first convenience-sized store in Seattle, including taking customer feedback on the store's product assortment and gathering data on how often shoppers visit the location.

Amazon debuted the store in January. It allows customers to enter by scanning a code on their phone screen at the entrance. Once inside, a network of cameras monitors what customers take off the shelves, and Amazon charges their accounts based on what items they carry out of the store.

"There are no plans to roll this out at Whole Foods," Puerini said.

In August 2017, labor union United Food and Commercial Workers argued in a letter to the grocer that Amazon's move toward automation could threaten cashier jobs if the company decided to roll out a completed automated checkout model across Whole Foods' network of about 470 stores.

Speaking at Shoptalk, Puerini said the company is focused on creating employee jobs that involve more interaction with customers.

"Physical shopping is actually fantastic," she said, in part because shoppers can "talk to associates and get advice."

"We just said, 'Let's take the people and put them on tasks that we think add more value.'" She declined to say how many people Amazon's pilot store in Seattle employs.