Wednesday, April 06, 2005

San Francisco East?

Maryland lawmakers just passed a bill requiring Wal-Mart to spend 8 percent of its payroll on health benefits for its workers. The bill technically applies to any company with more than 10,000 employees in the state, but since Wal-Mart, which employs 15,000 workers in Maryland, is the only company that meets the criteria it's clear they were specifically targeted. Now might be a good time to invest in manufacturers of self-checkout machines. As this article points out:
[They] can save money for the retailer. Each unit costs about $24,000 to buy and install, plus another $4,000 or so per year for maintenance, according to IHL Consulting. The firm estimates that the devices pay for themselves in fewer than 15 months through labor savings, increased customer use and because they take up less floor space than typical checkouts, opening up more room for promotions or products. IHL President Greg Buzek said the systems have also cut down significantly on theft, or, in industry parlance, "shrinkage." "The single biggest factor in shrinkage is employee theft, and at the front end, this is the cashier giving their friends big discounts by scanning a pack of gum but putting a higher priced item in the bag," Buzek said.
According to IT Facts the number of self-checkout machines is already predicted to grow from 34,000 in 2003 to 244,000 in 2007. Maryland's Gosplanites will certainly accelerate the process.

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