Michel-Edouard Leclerc, the president of French retailer E. Leclerc, has said the group is planning to become the first food retailer in France to issue virtual receipts.

The scheme, he wrote in his blog, would apply to loyalty card holders with smartphones, who would receive a virtual till receipt on the smartphone number registered with the retailer.

Leclerc's management discussions with his membership and checkout staff suggested most of the till receipts that are not left behind at the checkout become scrumpled little balls of paper within days.

Customers will still be able to ask for a receipt, even if they have registered a smartphone number with the retailer.

Proprietary online receipt companies such as eReceipts and Yreceipts have made progress since 2010, with London restaurants and bars among their users. Backers of eReceipts include former Tesco managing director Ian MacLaurin, who launched the Tesco Clubcard and who regards eReceipts as an extension to loyalty cards.

The biggest corporate adopter remains Apple's iStore, which has been issuing virtual receipts for years all over the world, including France. The convergence of e-tailing with bricks-and-mortar retailing makes a virtual transaction platform increasingly acceptable at checkouts.