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JCPenney Announces Plans to Eliminate Checkout Clerks with Automated Machines — Dollars and Sense

JCPenney shopper and clerk
Scott Olsen, Getty Images

Today many companies are being forced to either change with the times or die.

One of those companies is retail giant JCPenney — where recent struggles inside of an unstable economy have made it difficult for the retail chain to continue to do business as it has for nearly 100 years.

JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson says he is determined to drastically change the structure of the store in an attempt to restore the company back into profitability and save its more than 1,000 stores nationwide.

However, one of his ideas is making both customers and employees extremely nervous. He intends to replace real life clerks with a self-checkout system similar to the ones seen popping up in grocery outlets over the last decade.

“I think it’s a bad idea all way around if you ask me,” says Jack Soffel a frequent customer of JCPenney. “I don’t want to walk into a place that’s so austere that it’s nothing but mechanics and automation. I like to talk to people, they help me, they ask me, they take me to find things.”

While some are concerned about how JCPenney’s new self-check-out technology will affect their shopping experience, others worry about their jobs, but the company says that they will not be eliminating the existence of store clerks altogether and that this new method of check out will free up employees to help customers in other ways.

JCPenney plans to implement its new self-check-out system in early 2014.



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