Japan convenience store chains now more flexible about operating hours
Japan Times -- Apr 26
Convenience store operators released actions plans Thursday to address acute labor shortages, suggesting they have become more flexible about operating hours.

“We will let the owners of (franchise stores) make the final decision” on whether to reduce business hours, Fumihiko Nagamatsu, president of Seven-Eleven Japan Co. told a news conference in Tokyo, in a shift from the industry leader’s longtime policy of opening stores around-the-clock.

FamilyMart Co. and Lawson Inc., which have conducted trials of shorter opening hours at some stores as has Seven-Eleven, said they are also prepared to leave the decision to franchise store owners.

On April 5, the industry ministry took the rare step of urging convenience store operators to formulate the action plans, after finding an increasing number of franchisees were struggling with staff recruitment and rising labor costs.

Nagamatsu also said Seven-Eleven will double investment to around ¥120 billion ($1.07 billion) in the business year through February 2020 to introduce self-checkout machines and other measures to assist existing outlets across the country.

To secure more funds to support franchisees, FamilyMart President Takashi Sawada said it will cut the number of people it plans to hire under its regular recruitment program in fiscal 2020 to 100, down 200 from the current year.

News source: Japan Times
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