NEWFANE, N.Y. -- Jubilee Foods is succeeding in cutting shrink at the front end with an automated infrared system that senses if an item is unaccounted for at the bottom of a shopping cart.
"We were not happy with our gross profits in grocery items and thought that this could be a solution to that problem," said Mark Popp, owner of Jubilee Foods here.
Jubilee, a single-store operator, has improved its margins considerably since implementing the technology a year ago. "Our gross profits have risen 2% to 5%, and the infrared sensors have contributed to that," he said.
The system is detecting merchandise under the shopping cart much more often than had been expected. "It is surprising how often the alarm goes off, and you have to wonder whether the cashier would have caught it or missed it," Popp said.
Since installing the system in four of the store's five checkout lanes, cashiers are becoming much more attentive to checking for merchandise at the bottom of shopping carts.
"The system makes the cashiers more conscientious about looking below the cart," said Popp.
The technology, from Store-Scan, Scottsdale, Ariz., is linked directly to the store's point-of-sale lanes. The detectors are housed in the wall of checkstands and send out an infrared light beam to the lower level of the shopping carts, which are equipped with reflectors.
"If an object is on the lower shelf of the shopping cart it breaks the light beam, and a cashier is alerted through a buzzer and a light on her station."