US fastfood giant McDonald's is to bring an end to its Redbox automated convenience store experiment.

After a year-long trial, McDonald's is to pull the plug on the four Redbox automated grocery-retail machines situated in the Washington area, reported the Washington Post.

The 130-item Redbox machines sold grocery products, such as bread, milk, eggs, toilet paper and laundry detergent, which could be paid for by coins, notes or credit cards.

The machines were seen by some as the future of convenience store retailing, a way of combating low profit margins, high property costs and expensive labour.

But Richard Geerdes, president of the National Automatic Merchandising Association, said vending machines can be expansive to operate, with fresh foods having to be replaced daily. Profit margins are usually about 5%, Geerdes said.

McDonald's said it was focused on attracting customers to its existing restaurants. "Unfortunately, the Redbox automated convenience store did not fit into our long-term growth strategy," spokeswoman Lisa Howard was quoted by the Washington Post as saying.