Tesco is set to launch its first checkout-free shop following a successful trial.

The supermarket giant wants to follow in the footsteps of Amazon by removing the use of checkouts completely. 

Under the plans, customers will scan items with their phone and payment for shopping will then be automatically taken when they then walk out of the store.

A year-long trial of the concept has been taking place at the Tesco Express store in the Welwyn Garden City head office.

Chief exec Ken Murphy says the checkout-free scheme 'worked really well'. He added: “'We'll extend that in the coming weeks and months to test it in a more urban environment.

“Machine learning is continuously improving so we feel confident we can put it into another store with a higher traffic.”

Amazon opened its first shop in London earlier this year which requires shoppers to scan a QR code before they begin shopping. They are then able to pick up items without scanning them before being billed before they leave the store.

Amazon is using cameras, depth-sensors, and AI to follow which items are being picked up by customers.

It is not known Tesco plans to manage the checkout-free scheme and ensure payment is made.

The news comes as Tesco revealed sales managed to stay in positive territory in the 13 weeks to May 29 compared with a year ago, despite the same period in 2020 being during the height of the first lockdown when supermarket shelves were stripped bare.

Some commentators had raised concerns that supermarkets would take a hit from the reopening of non-essential retailers, and with restaurants, bars and cafes welcoming back customers in the past two months.

But the Tesco boss said the pandemic boom in online shopping is continuing and demand for home cooking remains strong, with cooking and baking products up 20%.

He said: “The key changes that we’re seeing since the restrictions have been eased is a return to more normalised shopping patterns.

“We’re seeing higher frequency shopping and we’re seeing smaller basket sizes.

“We’re also seeing a shift again towards the weekend days being our peak shopping days in terms of traffic.

“There’s definitely been a shift back to eating out (but) there continues to be a strong demand for eating at home.

“As a consequence, things like beer, wine and spirits have stayed remarkably strong.”