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Carrefour to open automated 24-hour supermarket
A 24-hour Carrefour Express supermarket powered by vending machines will open in downtown Brussels early next year.
The store, on Rue du Marché aux Peaux near the Grand-Place, will have no aisles or cashiers - but will still employ staff to keep the stock replenished and to bake fresh bread.
Using a touch-screen, customers can fill their shopping basket from a range of about 400 everyday products, pay by card and collect their shopping from a hatch. Orders can also be placed online for collection.
A Carrefour spokesman said the 24/7 experiment had "a lot a potential" - and could be extended to other busy locations in city centres or railway stations, where space is tight.
"The goal is not to build a shop without staff," he added. "Employees will work behind the scenes to bake bread, replenish products and solve technical problems."