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FairPrice gives low-income families S$4.3m boost, as it unveils new hub

Low-income families are set to get more help from the labour movement, following donations of S$4.3 million from the NTUC FairPrice and NTUC FairPrice Foundation on Thursday to the National Trades Union Congress.

SINGAPORE: Low-income families are set to get more help from the labour movement, following donations of S$4.3 million from the NTUC FairPrice and NTUC FairPrice Foundation on Thursday to the National Trades Union Congress.

The S$4.3 million boost will go towards various community initiatives like the NTUC U Care Fund to benefit low-income working families, and towards family bonding activities such as U Picnic and Baby's Day Out.

NTUC FairPrice chairman Ng Ser Miang announced this at a pre-opening ceremony for FairPrice Hub, a 16-storey building next to Joo Koon MRT station which is set to be completed by the end of this year.

The building will house a bus interchange, NTUC FairPrice headquarters and other commercial tenants. 

The S$350 million Hub will feature a new High-Tech Distribution Centre, which will use robotic technology for warehouse operations, such as automated systems like the Automated Storage and Retrieval System (ASRS) and the Caddy Pick system.

Mr Ng said: "Together with all the innovative technology that we'll be introducing, like self-checkouts at different FairPrice stores, we'll be passing on all the savings to customers.

"We have promised to be the last to increase prices, the first to lower prices. In terms of rebates, we've given out S$50 million of rebates, compared to five years ago which was S$30 million."

The ASRS features cable car-like vehicles that travel on a monorail, built above ground.

The automated system directs the vehicles to specific locations within the warehouse, where one staff member will load the goods on the vehicles.

The goods will then be sorted out, and sent to FairPrice outlets across Singapore. 

FairPrice said the technology allows the centre to handle products 25 per cent faster, and saves up to 28 per cent in manpower costs.

The technology is also the first of its kind in Asia Pacific.

The move is in line with the government's call during the recent Budget for businesses to tap technology to raise productivity.

Plans to open five more supermarkets, including a FairPrice Xtra hypermarket at Sports Hub, as well as 20 more convenience stores this year, were also unveiled on Thursday. 

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