Wpis dostępny jest także w języku: polski
In February, the provisions sealing the Sunday trade restriction act will come into force, which are to prevent entrepreneurs from taking advantage of the loophole in the existing regulations. Who wants to run a business based on one of the seven exceptions related to the so-called core activities, such as post office, florists, confectioneries, tobacco sales, must establish that such activities generate 40% of the income. Self -service cash registers may be a solution, as they no longer require the seller’s intervention, and the act does not mention security staff.
Retail chains that do not trade seven days a week are at a disadvantage and risk losing customers. For this reason, many players have extended the scope of their services to include postal points of contact, because according to the law, post offices may have employees behind the counter on non-trade Sundays. The first network to take advantage of this option was Żabka, which obtained the status of a post office in 2012, and when the law on “restricting trade on Sundays and public holidays and on certain other days” entered into force in 2018, the company encouraged franchisees to open outlets across the country. Recently, this option has been used by, inter alia, Abc, Euro Sklep, Polomarket, Intermarche, Chata Polska, Stokrotka Express, Lewiatan, Biedronka, Delikatesy Centrum, Sklep Polski, Kaufland and Obi.
Pursuant to the amendment to the act signed by the president, in order for a retail outlet to operate on Sunday, using the exemption provided for postal outlets, over 40% of its revenues must come from the postal services. This means that many networks, which have so far transformed into post offices, will no longer be able to trade on Sundays.
In the meantime, the Silesian retail chain Browarek promotes its loyalty card on Facebook as a way for Sunday shopping “despite changes in regulations” and “even if our stores cease to be a post office”. Browarek launched loyalty cards and self-service cashless payments some time ago. Some activities no longer require interaction with the seller.
Maintenance-free operation and the use of security staff in the store instead of cashiers can be a technique to circumvent the trade restriction. There is no human element in a cashless system, while the problem of Sunday salespeople’s work is at the center of the debate about whether to restrict or liberalize Sunday trading. There is no mention of security guards in the act.
Maintenance-free stores in Poland
In Poland, this kind of operation has been tested / adopted by Bio Family stores offering organic food in Poznan, Wroclaw and Warsaw so far. During the week, the store staff is present, but on Sundays or late in the evening, the customer can serve themself by using the application that allows entering the store. Take & Go facilities in Poznan also used the same system, but the network is no longer operational.
Zabka – the largest chain of convenience stores in Poland, on June 15, 2021, announced the opening of the first autonomous cashless store called “Zappka Store” in Poznan . Since June 2021, the company has already launched several self-service Zabka Nano points in various locations, including at stations, in the subway, in city centers or at the Poznan International Fair.
Now the company is launching a new version of Zabka Nano in the store-in-store model. Such a device can be opened very quickly thanks to the unusual modular structure – in Piaseczno, one took about 24 hours to assemble. The tested concept differs from the autonomous Zabka stores that have been opened so far – now it uses an innovative form of authorization and payment for purchases, which is carried out using a payment card.
Zinu Shop – a chain of vending machines, launched its third outlet in Krakow in 2021. The stores operate 24/7 all year round, offering around 350 different products. Similar concepts were previously tested by Ruch and Carrefour.
The first two Zinu Shops opened in March and May 2021. at Aleja Pokoju in Krakow, while the third place opened in summer at Boleslawa Orlinskiego Street. The device offers about 350 different products and depending on the location, stores may have a different assortment and, in addition to food, offer, for example, cosmetics or household chemicals. The total capacity of the devices can reach up to 3,000 positions. The tests of the project are at the final stage, and the company is focusing on obtaining financing that would also allow for expansion beyond the Malopolskie Voivodeship.
It is worth recalling that a similar solution was previously introduced by Ruch – the company launched its first self-service kiosk in Warsaw in 2020. The offer is more modest, with 175 food and non-food items, but includes hot coffee and tea.
The expansion of the 24/7 self-service format on the Polish market also includes innovative Carrefour and Zabka outlets. In the years 2019-2020 Carrefour Express launched two self-service premises in Warsaw, which consist of several vending machines with a total offer of approx. 130 items.
Value of grocery sales along with forecasts and rankings of the largest players in each distribution channel is included in the lates PMR report: “Grocery retail market in Poland 2021. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2021-2026“.