RETAILING: Computerized Check-out

Bleeping and flashing at the checkout counters of a Kroger store in the Cincinnati suburb of Kenwood, the new device looks and sounds like something from a sci-fi movie. In fact, it is an experimental RCA computer system designed to speed customers through the counters and minimize chances that they will be overcharged by tired, rushed cashiers.

The new system works this way: stickers with an inked numerical code signifying the product, brand, size and price are pasted on all packaged items. For example, Kroger crinkle-cut French fried potatoes, Code No. 010270280. The stickers can be put on at either...