Tesco to roll out 250 digital photo kiosks

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The Independent Online

Tesco yesterday moved to increase the pressure on high street retailers by announcing plans to offer customers in-store digital photo printing facilities.

The supermarket giant plans to roll out more than 250 stand-alone kiosks from next month in an attempt to bolster its one-stop shop credentials.

Graham Harris, who is in charge of the initiative, said: "This represents an excellent opportunity for Tesco to deliver an innovative solution to our customers, offering them great value and convenience using the newest technology."

Tesco's move follows Boots' decision to roll out digital printing kiosks across its estate. It has 1,300 across its 1,100 shops.

The demand for digital photography has soared in the past few years, with Dixons recently revealing that four out of every five cameras sold are digital. Eastman Kodak last week admitted the film business is declining at the twice the speed of previous estimates, while Ilford Imaging, the world's largest producer of black and white photo materials, went into receivership in July.

Tesco, which offers a film-processing service in 90 stores, said its decision to launch in-store digital printing was based on an analysis of customer trends in the US, where people favour the convenience and better quality of digital imaging. Although pictures taken by digital cameras can be downloaded on to home computers, Mr Harris said the desire for physical prints had been "seriously underestimated" in the UK. "The vast majority of the market do not have the time, high-quality equipment or inclination to print photographs at home," he said.

Tesco will charge £5 for 50 standard size prints - the same as Boots - which customers can print out on the spot or get the in-store lab to do it for them. Pixology is providing the software for the kiosks, while Photo-Me International will provide and service the digital mini-labs.