Retailers poised to bring first autonomous stores to Romania

Retailers poised to bring first autonomous stores to Romania
Rewe's Penny and Polish Zabka have announced plans to open autonomous stores in the Romanian market. / REWE
By bne IntelliNews May 27, 2024

The grocery chain Penny, operated by major German group Rewe, will open the first autonomous store in Romania, which will showcase the company's latest advances in digital retail technology, in the western part of Bucharest on May 29.

The launch takes place just before the Romanian launch of the Polish retailer Zabka, the largest operator of autonomous stores in Europe.

“In the first fully autonomous Penny store, you enter, choose the items on the shopping list and pay at the end, without spending time at the cash register. Choose your favourite products from our shelves and put them directly in your bag – the items are automatically scanned by a smart camera system located in the store,” the retailer explained to potential buyers. 

The goods placed back on the shelves are deducted from the bill even if they are misplaced, the retailer said. The item is weighted automatically when picked up from the shelves.

Penny opened its first fully autonomous store in Germany in December 2022.

The group’s tech partner in the autonomous stores' project is computer vision startup Trigo.

Penny Romania ended 2023 with a revenue of over RON8.32bn (€716mn), a 16% y/y increase. It is the ninth consecutive year that Penny Romania reported the highest turnover growth among the food retail businesses under Germany’s Rewe Group.

Last year, Penny opened 40 new stores in Romania, a new record, and its network currently consists of 378 stores served by four logistics centres.

The retailer is aiming for double-digit revenue growth in 2024. It plans to open 35 to 40 new stores this year and build a new logistics centre close to Bucharest.