New York Times: Smart shelves learn to track inventories

Claudia Deutsch and Barnaby Feder report on retailer interest in RFID tagging.

Early tests are encouraging. For three months in 2001, Gap tested radio frequency tags on denim clothes at a store in Atlanta. Sales jumped because the tags prevented the store from running out of popular items, and the tags made it quicker to find any items in stock. Typically, 15 percent of shoppers leave clothing stores without getting what they want; during the test, fewer than 1 percent of Gap shoppers left empty-handed.

I wonder why their centralized inventory management systems couldn’t do as well?

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