Move over George Clooney - Nestle has employed a fleet of chirpy robots to sell its coffee machines in Japanese stores. The Hollywood heartthrob, who has become the global face of the Nespresso brand, has been given the elbow in favour of Pepper, a cheeky and chatty android sales assistant, which its makers claim can answer customers' questions. "How do you enjoy coffee? Number one: An eye-opener coffee; Number two: A post-meal cup of coffee," Pepper asked a TV personality at a promotion event yesterday. The 120-centimetre tall robot has a human-like face perched on top of a white plastic body, with rollers and what looks like a tablet computer on its chest. Pepper robots will eventually be in 1,000 stores across Japan. Makers say the robot can understand up to 80 per cent of conversations. The robots will "help us discover consumer needs through conversations between our customers and Pepper," said a joint statement from Nestle and SoftBank, whose French arm Aldebaran was the developer of the technology. Pepper, which was unveiled in June by SoftBank president Masayoshi Son, already sells mobile phones at SoftBank's 74 Japanese stores, where it has been used at times to collect customers' opinions. Engineers claim the robot's artificial intelligence has allowed it to expand its conversational ability by listening to what customers say. The robot will go on sale to the public in February, with a price tag of 198,000 yen (HK$13,000) plus monthly fees.