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The Revolution in Retail Trade

Someday, radio frequency identification (RFID) and electronic product code (EPC) technology will do for retail trade what the universal product code and barcode scanning did for the industry in the 1990s, spurring a boom in information and communication technology, shifts in organizational structure and process that led to a 7.4 percent increase in labor productivity between 1995 and 2002. Despite obstacles such as high implementation and usage costs, RFID and EPC hold potential to generate more detailed and accurate information on sales, inventories, and schedules. The technology will likely catch on; current skepticism echoes concerns about UPCs in the 1980s.

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