Ex-Sainsbury’s chair to join till-free tech startup

A former Sainsbury’s chairman is bringing his “knowledge of the retail industry” to a company that wants to do away with checkouts.

David Tyler, who headed the grocer from 2009 to 2019, has joined tech startup Imagr as chair of the board.

Hailing an opportunity to slash operating costs, he said the technology would “delight” customers and “improve store efficiency”.

“David brings a depth of experience and knowledge of the retail industry that is invaluable to Imagr at this important stage of rapid growth,” founder William Chomley said.

READ MORE: Sainsbury’s rubbishes rumours of Brexit store closures

An Imagr pop-up store that opened in Oxford Street this summer reportedly received interest from six major grocers.

However, it faces stiff competition from Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology and Trigo, the Israeli firm behind Tesco’s GetGo Holborn store.

Morrisons is trialling a similar system built by AiFi at its Bradford base.

Tyler said Imagr’s offering was “scalable” because its cost was “realistic” and it had “no downside for the customer”.

“Shoppers want to use their time efficiently and have a flawless experience when they walk through the doors of a grocery store,” he continued.

“Retailers need to respond to this demand and provide the best customer experience possible.”

It comes after shop workers union Usdaw warned Tesco against being “dazzled” by till-free technology.

“Shop workers provide the customer service that many shoppers really value,” national officer Pauline Foulkes said last week.

“We do not want to see jobs cut through the introduction of new technology.”

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