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The Majors Are Lining Up For Automated Retailing

|Includes: Outerwall Inc. (OUTR), WMT

Last week I was shopping at one of my favorite stores - Walmart. I enjoy the vast selections (you can get everything from groceries to automotive supplies to clothing) and the low prices. I happen to think that Walmart is one of the great retailers in America, and has provided jobs and access to merchandise to the economically disadvantaged. I don't buy the nonsense that Walmart is the evil empire and has put mom and pop stores out of business, any more than I blame IBM for putting typewriter repairmen out of business. But, I digress. This column isn't actually about Walmart… It's about something I found at Walmart that also warms my heart.

While shopping at Walmart, I came across a new Rug Doctor automated rental center. This self-contained system allows customers to rent, checkout and return a popular Rug Doctor carpet-cleaning unit, and not have to wait for or flag down a store employee to assist you.

If you've ever rented a Rug Doctor, you know what I'm talking about. I've done it several times… and if you haven't you should. The Rug Doctor systems are incredible at cleaning, and they get out so much dirt that you can't believe you were actually living on those dirty carpets, but again, I digress.

It normally used to be a bit of a hassle to rent a Rug Doctor system, as you had to wait for an employee to become available, which wasn't until all the checkout lines had cleared, and then it would take another 10 minutes of paperwork.

Well, I have good news. Those days are gone.

Today, you can walk right up to the automated system that are in many Walmart stores, insert your credit card, and within seconds, a door magically opens and the system is available for you to take. No lines, no fuss, no waiting.

This type of automation is the wave of the future, and it adds convenience and customer satisfaction - something every retailer strives toward.

Now here is where the story gets really good: That wonderful, time-saving, customer-convenient Rug Doctor automated rental center was designed and built by another favorite company of mine - AVT (Ticker: AVTC).

AVT is one of the leaders in designing and manufacturing automated retailing systems of all kinds. This is the company that not only figured out how to automate the carpet-cleaning rental process, but has also given the world incredible new systems that include automated prescription medicine dispensing, Mountain Dew plastic bottle recycling centers, the Kardashian sister's cosmetics store, the now world-famous Beverly Hills cupcake and caviar systems, and the Blue Rhino automated propane tank exchange center… just to name a few.

And the growth chart of AVT is just as phenomenal. They have increased revenues by about 50% every year for the past 4 years.

Now if you're a youngster, those types of numbers might not mean a lot to you. But if you're a seasoned financial veteran like me, you know that a company might increase revenues by 50% for a year, or even two if they're incredibly lucky… but four years? That's like winning the Super Bowl and the World Series combined.

Are there naysayers? Of course. Like every OTC stock there are a few loudmouths out there that have nothing better to do than bash a good company. Their motives are anyone's guess.

But in my humble opinion, AVT is a true leader in a growing industry, and they have nowhere to go but up, up, up.

It's true, they compete with a giant in the industry - Coinstar, the maker of all those Redbox units.

But there is a fundamental difference between the two companies. Coinstar is selling at around $55.00 a share and has most of its growth behind it.

AVT is selling for a few bucks a share and can be the next Coinstar.

Plus, AVT has just had their patent tested and re-affirmed - and this could be a game changer - as it covers a basic technology that most of the industry already uses or needs to use. This patent alone could bring AVT huge sums within a short time.

So do yourself a favor…. Go to Walmart, rent a Rug Doctor and clean your carpets… then take a closer look at AVT - the company behind this ingenuity.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.