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Self-checkout technology more accessible to Australian retailers following Fujitsu’s US$35 million Optimal Robotics acquisition

  • 25 May, 2004 08:24

<p>25 May 2004– Fujitsu has acquired the U-Scan® self-checkout technology business of Canada’s Optimal Robotics for US$35 million in a deal that will see this self-service shopping technology become readily accessible to all Australian and New Zealand retailers. Fujitsu is already partnering a major Australian grocery retailer in a trial of the U-Scan system over the next few months.</p>
<p>U-Scan allows shoppers to scan, bag and pay for their purchases with little or no assistance from store personnel. Touch screen menus and voice and text instructions guide the shopper through the process. It reduces queuing, enables retailers to offer more choice and flexibility and releases staff from checkout tasks for higher-level customer service tasks.</p>
<p>“The acquisition means self-checkout technology has become more accessible and affordable to a broader spectrum of Australian and New Zealand retailers,” said Marcus May, General Manager Retail at Fujitsu. “Fujitsu will now offer self-checkout solutions to grocery, convenience store and mass merchandise retailers of all sizes.”</p>
<p>May added: “We expect every major supermarket chain in Australia to install at least four self-checkout lanes in many of their stores over the next couple of years. The technology will enable a significant percentage of store transactions to move through self-checkout facilities, increasing productivity and efficiency.”</p>
<p>The Optimal acquisition cements Fujitsu’s leadership in retail systems which now include the U-Scan self-checkout systems and related services. Fujitsu is among the world’s top three suppliers of point-of-sale systems and, with the Optimal acquisition, has the largest installed customer base in the worldwide market for self-checkout systems.</p>
<p>U-Scan systems account for around 40 per cent of self-checkout lanes in North America, according to US market research firm IHL Consulting Group*. IHL also reports that shipments of self-checkout systems will grow by about 95 percent in 2004, with the market exceeding $1.3 billion in 2005. IHL estimates that 95 percent of the supermarket chains in North America will have some degree of self-checkout by 2006.</p>
<p>“Optimal has a solid product line that’s backed by strong intellectual property and human capital, a well-established brand and an impressive customer base,” said May. “Fujitsu is well positioned to leverage these assets by applying our global engineering and local integration skills to further increase quality and deliver solutions tailored to each retailer’s needs.”</p>
<p>“We’re delighted that it is Fujitsu that has acquired our self-checkout assets because it provides the best possible future for our employees and customers,” said Neil Wechsler, co-chairman and CEO of Optimal Group Inc. (formerly Optimal Robotics Corp.; NASDAQ:OPMR). “I am convinced that Fujitsu will build on our achievements in self-checkout and realise the full potential that we have worked so hard to create.”</p>
<p>Fujitsu’s U-Scan system is intuitive and easy to use with in-store trials revealing an 80 per cent shopper satisfaction rate. “Our retail customers can see the benefits of the technology and are keen to test out the system as soon as possible,” said May.</p>
<p>Ends
(*IHL Market Study: Retail Self-Checkout Systems in North America, 2003)</p>
<p>Notes to Editors</p>
<p>Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand
Fujitsu is a full service provider of information technology and communications solutions. Throughout Australia and New Zealand we partner with our customers to consult, design, build, operate and support business solutions. From strategic consulting to application and infrastructure solutions and services, Fujitsu has earned a reputation as the single supplier of choice for leading corporate and government organisations.</p>
<p>Fujitsu Australia Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of Fujitsu Limited of Japan.</p>
<p>Visit au.fujitsu.com for further information.</p>
<p>About Fujitsu Limited
Fujitsu is a leading provider of customer-focused IT and communications solutions for the global marketplace. Pace-setting technologies, highly reliable computing and communications platforms, and a worldwide corps of systems and services experts uniquely position Fujitsu to deliver comprehensive solutions that open up infinite possibilities for its customers' success. Headquartered in Tokyo, Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.7 trillion yen (US$45 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2004. For more information, please see: http://www.fujitsu.com/</p>
<p>For further media release information contact:</p>
<p>Gillian Lamrock
Fujitsu Australia Limited
Tel 02 9776 4799
Mobile 0411 267 043
Email: gillian.lamrock@au.fujitsu.com</p>

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