Sears. Roebuck and Co. of Chicago and Service Merchandise Co. of Nashville plan to install computer systems this year that record and store electronic copies of credit card receipts at the point of sale.
The merchants are believed to be the first to agree to install the technology at retail stores across the country. Their supplier, MicroBilt Corp., is a unit of First Financial Management Corp., of Atlanta.
NCR Corp., of Dayton, Ohio, a unit of American Telephone and Telegraph Co., sells similar technology.
The technology is supposed to slash the administrative cost of resolving charge disputes by making it possible to retrieve receipts from computer data bases, instead of from microfiche files.
A key component of the new technology is a so-called signature capture device - basically a computerized pad - on which he sales slip is placed and signed by the consumer. The signature, and the accompanying sales information, is then stored in a computer data base.
Sears plans to install the technology in all of its 809 stores by yearend.
The move will "allow us to provide additional security, create a paperless office, and enhance productivity," said Sears spokesman Perry Chlan.