Robots Seen As Enhancing Retail Store Operations

Consumers shopping in brick-and-mortar stores could see more robots at work as the cost of technology has come down and the industry struggles to find labor. Since Amazon first began using robots to fill orders in its warehouses, retailers from Wal-Mart Stores to small regional pharmacy chains are testing robots to manage inventory.

Wal-Mart began in August testing a Bossanova robot that can handle such tasks as scanning shelves for out-of-stock items and wrong or missing labels. By using the 300-pound robot to scan shelves, take high resolution images and create a panoramic view of the shelf and generate a report of the findings, employees can quickly replace the out-of-stocks.

Wal-Mart is testing the robots in about 25 stores with the number increasing to around 50 by year end. Inside Wal-Mart Store No. 54 in Springdale — a Supercenter facing South Thompson Street — shoppers may spot T.J. between 6 and 7:30 a.m. The Bossanova robot has been assigned to the store since August.   MORE

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