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Walmart drops plans to use robots for tracking inventory

Nov 2 (Reuters) - Walmart Inc said on Monday it has dropped its plans to use roving robots to scan shelves and keep track of inventory, squashing the world’s largest retailer’s years-long efforts to automate the task.

The company has worked with Bossa Nova Robotics Inc for five years to improve customer experience by using robots to assist shop staff and make their jobs easier.

“This was one idea we tried in roughly 500 stores just as we are trying other ideas in additional stores,” Walmart said in a statement.

Walmart added that it would continue to test new technologies and invest in its own processes and apps to track inventory and help move products to shelves as quickly as possible.

The company now has more workers walking the aisles to collect online orders, extracting new data on inventory problems, people familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal, which was first to report this news. (on.wsj.com/2I19YkP)

The supermarket chain began rolling out shelf-scanning robots in 2017 to replenish inventory faster and save employees time when products run out, as a part of its broader effort to digitize its stores to make shopping faster as it competes with Amazon.com Inc.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Vinay Dwivedi

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