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Associated Food Stores has entered into a partnership with Google to enable shoppers to redeem digital coupons and checkout with a tap of their phone using Google Wallet later this year.

"We are incredibly excited to make the shopping experience faster and easier with Google Wallet," said Troy Thomas, vice president at Associated, one of Utah's largest retail grocery chains. "Shoppers can add any credit card to Google Wallet, save relevant digital coupons from our website,and quickly checkout in the store by simply tapping their phone at the point of purchase."

Shoppers will have access to hundreds of new digital offers from Google's national manufacturer partners. Shoppers may click and save coupons to their Google Wallet account directly from Associated's website at home or in store. AFS will use this process early next year when it deploys Google Wallet's mobile-commerce technology so that customers can transmit payment and coupon information with one action from their smartphones.

The Google Wallet is slated for Macey's as the chain's prototype. Other Associated retail stores and some independent grocers will be looking at early 2013 as launch dates.

The technology, which has been integrated with Wallet, will be deployed across point-of-sale systems within Associated corporate-owned banners, including Macey's, Fresh Market, Dan's, Lin's and Dick's Market.

"We analyzed many potential players in the mobile payments space," said David Rice, Associated's executive vice president of retail. "No one compared to the experience and technological capabilities that Google brings to the table."

Google Wallet launched in 2011 as a way for mobile shoppers to transmit payments electronically at the point of purchase. The service has since added more than 20 national partners, including Walgreen's, CVS, Toys R Us, Jamba Juice and Old Navy.

"We're very pleased that we've been able to extend that model to the grocery segment where we can engage digitally-influenced shoppers, help them discover relevant coupons and make it easier for them to transact in physical retail stores," said Spencer Spinnell, Google's director of emerging business partnerships.

The downside is a smartphone must be equipped with a special chip in order to work with Google Wallet, and not all smartphones, including the iPhone, have the chip.

Associated Food Stores is an independent retailer-owned warehouse based in Salt Lake City, which provides warehouse facilities and services to more than 400 grocers in the Intermountain West.