Automation of retail industry is calling for the low cost solution due to its sheer size and varied needs. Printed electronics offers a great potential in addressing the needs in point-of-sales, inventory management and self-service, in particular the RFID systems consisting of the printed components. Screen printed UHF RFID reader antennas have been investigated in this work for their application potentials in retails for achieving easy-implementation and low cost. The results obtained clearly demonstrated that the screen printed UHF RFID reader antennas are closely matching the performance of their circularly polarized patch antenna counterparts fabricated using the conventional chemical etching method in most critical specifications. The screen printed antennas have been explored for the monitoring of items on metal shelves targeting potential inventory management and point-of-sales applications. It has been found that all tagged items can be identified using a home developed UHF RFID system consisting of the printed antennas. The findings pave the way for the use of low cost printed antennas in the potential retail automation applications.