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Target Is Slashing Self-Checkout Even Further

Retailers continue to pull back on self-checkout kiosks to prevent theft.

Target is taking renewed aim at self-checkout. Last fall, reports emerged that the retailer had started to put item limits on shelf-checkout lanes at several stores in the Northeast, restricting shoppers to just 10 products or less if they wanted to use these kiosks. As it turns out, Target wasn't done yet, and the chain is now making further moves to make self-checkout machines less accessible to customers.

RELATED: Walmart and Target Anti-Theft Measures Could Be "Final Nail in the Coffin," Shoppers Say.

According to a Feb. 13 report from Business Insider, Target has slashed the hours of operation for self-checkout lanes at some of its stores. Employees told the news outlet that not all locations have had self-checkout hours cut, but the company is considering store staffing levels and sales volumes in its decision.

On the whole, the workers said Target is trying to keep the percentage of overall store sales via self-checkout below a certain threshold with this new move.

While hours vary by location, most Target stores throughout the U.S. open at either 7 a.m. or 8 a.m. and close around 10 p.m. or 11 p.m. every day. But recently, several Reddit users in the r/Target subreddit have noted that their self-checkout (SCO) hours are getting reduced on both ends.

"I need to know if any other stores are doing/have done this. We're open 8-10 normally but I just got told that our SCO will now only be operating 10-6:30," Reddit user @Latmaso wrote in a Feb. 13 post.

RELATED: Kroger Is the Latest Store Pulling Away From Self-Checkout.

Throughout the comment section, several other employees chimed in with their Target's newly reduced self-checkout hours. Many say the lanes are now being opened anywhere from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., and closed anywhere from 7 to 9 p.m.

One person even claimed that they're only allowed to keep their store's self-checkout lanes open between 4 to 7 p.m. for "peak" hours. A Target employee in Illinois also confirmed to Business Insider that her store's self-checkout hours had been cut, and that the machines are no longer available to shoppers after 8 p.m.

Best Life reached out to Target about the reduced self-checkout hours, and we will update this story with its response.

Target workers who haven't had to make the change at their stores yet shared concerns to Business Insider about not having enough staff to cover full-service lanes, and the potential backlash from customers having to wait in long lines for a cashier.

"If and when we do have to close the self-checkouts in the morning and in the evening, we're going to have a lot of people extremely upset with us," one Michigan worker said. "I'm going to have to explain to them that they are closed down due to theft."

But Target is hardly the only company that has started to rethink their reliance on self-checkout amid rising retail theft. To discover four more retailers who have recently made changes to their self-checkout options, read on.

RELATED: Target Slammed by Shoppers Over Unbearable Wait Times.



Back when Target started imposing item limits at self-checkouts last fall, shoppers were also seeing similar restrictions at certain Shoprite stores. In an Oct. 2023 report, radio station WPST revealed that a ShopRite in Hamilton, New Jersey, had started enforcing a 20-item limit at self-checkout.

The station explained that it was made aware of the change from a post on Nextdoor.

"I was at ShopRite on Route 130 Friday afternoon with my wife, had about 30 to 40 items, and we were going to use the self-checkout," the post read. "They used to have lanes for 20 items or less and lanes for multiple items. Now they are strictly enforcing no more than 20 items at ALL self-checkout lanes."

Around that same time, a Best Life reporter had noticed limits at a Shoprite store in Belmar, New Jersey, as well.

RELATED: Industry Expert Predicts "Demise of Self-Checkouts" and What's Coming Next.


walmart store
JHVEPhoto / Shutterstock

Walmart is another retailer that started pulling back from self-checkout last year. Back in September, the Albuquerque Journal reported that Walmart had stripped self-checkout machines from two stores in Albuquerque, and that the company was also in the process of renovating another location in the area to replace self-checkout lanes.

"We continually look at ways to provide our customers with the best shopping experience and that includes adjusting the checkout area in stores," Walmart spokesperson Josh Havens told Insider in regards to the removal of self-checkouts from three stores.

RELATED: Fact Check: Is Walmart Getting Rid of All Self-Checkouts?

Dollar General

Old Hickory, United States – March 16, 2022: The customers exiting Dollar General with carts full of items

At the end of the year, Dollar General CEO Todd Vasos also expressed his desire to rethink the retailer's use of self-checkout technology. Vasos admitted during a Dec. 7 earnings call that the company had started to "rely too much" on self-checkout kiosks in its stores in 2023.

"We should be using self-checkout as a secondary checkout vehicle, not a primary," he said, explaining that Dollar General is going to be increasing "employee presence at the front end of [its] stores and in particular, the checkout area" instead.


Cincinnati - Circa July 2021: Kroger Supermarket. Kroger is the fourth largest American-owned private employer in the United States.

Aside from Target's change, Kroger is the latest retailer to move away from self-checkouts. On Jan. 31, The Dallas Morning News reported that Kroger had decided to bring cashiers back to its only all self-checkout store in the Oak Lawn neighborhood of Dallas after three years.

"We listened closely to customer feedback and made the decision to convert back to hosting staffed checkout lanes at this store," Kroger spokesman John Votava told the newspaper.

According to Votava, the grocer started converting the store back to a mix of staffed and self-checkout lanes on Jan. 30.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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