Bestway is to expand its digital age-verification for alcohol and tobacco purchases to more Bargain Booze stores following a successful trial in three symbol shops

The wholesaler was the first in the independent convenience industry to trial the technology as part of a government initiative

Launched in Bargain Booze Otley, Wine Rack Roundhay and Tippl Garforth in Leeds, the stores have specialised cameras at the till. The cameras analyse features of a customer’s face to establish their age. An alert is then flagged up on a corresponding screen to the member of staff at the till advising them if they need to ask the customer for ID. 

The purpose of the trial, launched in February, was to improve enforcement of age-related sales in stores and reduce any aggression directed towards shop staff. A Bestway spokesperson told betterRetailing the trials had “proven to be successful”. 

“Retailers have reported positive feedback with reassurance given to both customers and the retailers’ own teams – with the technology seeming to be a useful deterrent as well as supporting any challenge that staff may need to make,” they added. 

“This is a positive step in the right direction for our retailers, who have welcomed the initiative as responsible businesses. 

“The technology appears to be accurate, and it has delivered a real benefit to those working in our stores, enabling staff to feel more confident and reassured with the sale of alcohol. In some circumstances, we are aware that staff have felt this has deterred people from even trying to purchase when they are clearly underage and has made the situation easier to manage. 

“We are in the process of agreeing further Bargain Booze stores to implement this system in.” 

The expansion to more Bargain Booze stores comes as supermarkets participating in the government scheme have also extended their trials in stores to the end of this month, according to reports. Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Co-op and Aldi had initially planned to participate from the end of last year until May. 

Explaining its participation, Co-op said: “We have been working closely with Manchester City Council’s trading standards and licensing teams, Greater Manchester Police’s licensing team, and our technology suppliers Diebold Nixdorf and Yoti to build our proposal to take part in the sandbox scheme in some of our Manchester stores. 

“The trial will run until the end of June 2022, when it will then be independently evaluated, and the results of the trial will be shared with the Home Office.” 

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