From Nordstrom to David's Bridal, stores rethink the cash register

NEW YORK, N.Y. – A growing number of retailers are rethinking the iconic cash register as shoppers, armed with smartphones and tablets, are demanding speedier service.

Here’s a look at how some major chains are responding to the changing shopping landscape:

— Barneys New York, luxury retailer, plans to use iPads or iPod Touch devices for credit and debit card purchases in seven of its nearly two dozen stores this year.

—Coach Inc., the upscale handbag maker, is using mobile checkout at half of its 189 factory outlet stores. The company is also testing them in a handful of its 350 regular stores.

— David’s Bridal, which operates 300 stores across the country, says that starting with 2015 all new stores it will build will not have any cash registers. It’s in the midst of figuring out which mobile checkout technology to use and plans to start rolling out a mobile plan later this year.

— J.C. Penney Co., a mid-priced department store chain, started rolling out iPod Touch devices late last year in its 1,100 stores. The goal is to have one in the hands of every salesperson by May. Penney says a quarter of purchases at its stores nationwide now come from an iPod Touch.

—Nordstrom Inc., an upscale department store chain considered the gold standard within the retail industry, plans to phase out cash registers in favour of mobile checkout by next year. The company has handed out iPod Touch devices at all of its full-service department stores and Nordstrom Rack stores.

—Sears Holdings Corp.’s Sears stores are using mobile checkout devices like iPads and iPod Touches in 360 of its 800 stores. It has no current plans to phase out cash registers as the retailer says it wants to fine-tune its strategy.

— Urban Outfitters, a teen clothing company, ordered its last traditional register last fall and aims to go completely mobile one day.

—Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer, is testing a “Scan & Go” app on an Apple device that lets customers scan their items as they shop, and then go to a self-service check terminal to pay. The pilot program started in 70 stores and is now in more than 200 stores in such markets as Denver and Houston.