Near Bamberg, customers have access to a fully-autonomous Rewe supermarket that is open 24 hours a day and operates completely without staff. However, due to German law, the Nahkauf still has to close on Sundays and public holidays.
Autonomous Rewe: Josefs Nahkauf Box
Germany’s first nahkauf Box, Josefs Nahkauf Box, offers customers in the Upper Franconian community of Pettstadt the opportunity to shop 24 hours a day in the mini REWE supermarket. The self-sufficient retailer does not need any staff at all.
For Rewe, this is a test of a new retail format that will supply the community’s approximately 2,000 residents with fresh groceries and everyday products. The self-sufficient supermarket offers around 40 square meters of space and can offer a considerable assortment of almost 700 items.
“With the nahkauf-BOX in Pettstadt, we consistently continue on the path of being an innovative and reliable partner for food supply on site and with the people, even in the smallest communities, with the nahkauf brand and our nahkauf merchants,” reveals Florian Sörensen, Sales Manager nahkauf National.
For payment in the autonomous Rewe market, cash-free self-checkout counters are available, which experience a payment by EC or credit card. Highly modern, then, especially for Germany. If only there weren’t German laws.
Law forces supermarket to close on Sundays and holidays
The store closing law in the Free State of Bavaria is considered the strictest in Germany. So it’s somehow not surprising that the law also dictates when a supermarket, which is entirely unstaffed, must close. In concrete terms, Josef’s Nahkauf Box is not allowed to open on Sundays and public holidays, as this is simply not permitted by law.
This is now also being hotly debated in the Bavarian state parliament, because the FDP sees the closure of the store as unjustifiable. Why also: after all nobody works here. Thus the FDP demands the Bavarian federal state government to permit an opening of such Kleinsupermärtke around the clock and on 365 days in the year. However, it remains to be seen whether this will be successful.