Contact: Lori O. Willis, Dir. of Communications, Schnuck Markets, Inc., (314) 994-4602
Carttronics, LLC, San Diego, California Barry Gallace, National Accounts Manager
August 13, 2001
ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Lost shopping carts can be one of the largest expenses in doing business for any retailer.
That realization has prompted Schnuck Markets, Inc., to become the first grocery retailer in the Midwest to install Carttronics, an electronic security system designed to curb shopping cart loss. A grocery cart costs about $100. One Schnucks store used to lose 30-40 carts per month. Until recently, there was very little that could be done to prevent it.
Last year, Schnucks partnered with Carttronics, LLC, a San Diego, Calif. company that specializes in electro-mechanical technology. From January to April 2001, cart retention systems were installed at four Schnucks supermarkets with the highest incidences of cart losses. All stores have noted marked improvement in the number of carts that now remain in inventory.
"Since installing Carttronics, we have not lost a single cart," said Keith Brown, store manager of the City Plaza Schnucks. He added, "Our store was losing 15 - 20 carts per month. We had to pay someone to retrieve them from throughout the neighborhood."
Barry Gallace, National Accounts Manger for Carttronics, said the system is good for both customers and the company. "Stores across the country are seeing increases in sales because, with Carttronics, more carts are available to customers at peak shopping periods." Gallace added, "This means that customers are not inconvenienced by a shortage of carts and can conveniently complete their entire shopping trip. Stores remain more profitable and continue to keep costs down for customers."
Approximately 600 stores are utilizing Carttronics across the country. The system operates using an antenna imbedded in the perimeter of the store's parking lot. The front wheel of each cart is fitted with a caster containing a radio receiver. When pushed past the antenna line, the caster activates and locks the wheel, stopping the cart.
Brown said that customers who walk to and from the store simply push the carts home with the intention of bringing them back to the store on their return trip. Often, particularly in the summer, children take them home to use as go-carts.
During a recent store remodel, the Kossuth Schnucks store replaced an older security system with Carttronics. "The former owner had installed steel bars which not only prevented customers from taking carts off the lot, but also prevented them from taking them to their cars," said Roger Hines, store manager at the Kossuth Schnucks store. He added, "It was a great inconvenience and we lost customers because of it. Since removing the bars and installing Carttronics, we have seen many of those customers return." Hines reports that his store has only lost one cart since the installation.
All four Schnucks stores report significant reductions in the numbers of calls from neighbors concerned about abandoned carts. Brown said that it was not uncommon to find carts throughout the community. "Carttronics has enabled us to help our customers in their efforts to improve the look of their neighborhoods," said Brown.
Schnuck Markets, Inc. currently operates 92 stores in Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. The family-owned company was founded in St. Louis in 1939.
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Editor's note: The four Schnucks supermarkets with the Carttronics system are listed below.
Schnucks City Plaza, 3431 Union Blvd. (63115)
Schnucks Kossuth, 4127 N. Grand Ave. (63107)
Schnucks Lindell, 4171 Lindell Blvd. (63108)
Schnucks South City, 3430 So. Grand Ave. (63118)