31. Self-service at its Finest

Photo: The self-check counters at Sengkang Grand’s Finest are able to cater to trolley loads. Source: FairPrice Group

When you have just a few items on your grocery list and want to nip in and out of a store quickly, the self-checkout counter is a convenient option. Now a common sight in many supermarkets, this payment point that cuts waiting time made its debut in FairPrice stores in 2011.

It was born out of necessity and the view that the labour crunch would become a new norm. The supermarket chain knew it had to address the problem before it became too big to tackle and ensure that things could still run smoothly with less manpower.

The first self-checkout counters were unveiled at the FairPrice Finest store in Clementi Mall, where customers with single-basket purchases could scan, pack and pay for items on their own. This boosted cashier productivity by over 80 per cent, and is now available in 118 FairPrice stores.

FairPrice upped the ante with the newest Finest outlet in Sengkang Grand Mall that was launched on March 6, 2023. Unlike those that came before it, this outlet is not only fitted with self-checkout counters that can cater to a trolley load, it is also equipped with dedicated Scan & Go counters.

As part of an integrated development plan for a neighbourhood with many young families, it is the ideal location to trial this new store concept.

Since its humble beginnings in a corner of Toa Payoh, NTUC FairPrice has become the quintessential Singaporean supermarket. The leap from a single store to a grocery giant is a tale of retail reinvention – a half-century journey that saw the cooperative confront crises and challenges, revamps and even robbers.

As it expanded and evolved, FairPrice never wavered from its core mission: to moderate the cost of living for consumers. It Takes a Great Deal - A Catalogue of FairPrice Group Stories encapsulates the birth of the consumer cooperative in 1973 and its transformation into a $4 billion food enterprise that is now called FairPrice Group.

Through 50 remarkable stories, we celebrate the people, products and places that mark significant milestones for the food retailer over the last five decades, charting its growth and successes in the past, present and into the future.