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Restocking the old vending machine with live bait and prescription pills – Retail in Asia

Retail in Asia

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Restocking the old vending machine with live bait and prescription pills

Long a cultural icon, the vending machine is fading from the American landscape.

The numbers are bleak: traditional vending machines disappeared from 134,000 locations between 2007 and 2010, according to the latest available data from Vending Times, an industry publication. Sales from vending machines sank more than 11 percent, to USD42.2 billion in the same period.

Amid the changes, a new group of entrepreneurs is trying to build a new vending industry, outfitting machines with high-tech features, and filling them with live bait, prescription drugs, electronics and even art.