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FamilyMart may change 24-hour store operations due to labor shortages

This Oct. 9, 2012 file photo shows the store front of a FamilyMart convenience store under construction in Yamaguchi. (Mainichi)

Major convenience store chain FamilyMart Co. has begun reviewing its around-the-clock business operations due to a serious shortage of labor, it has been learned.

    FamilyMart will experiment with shorter business hours at some stores and will examine the influence on sales and labor costs before deciding whether to continue 24-hour operations or not.

    The convenience store giant carries out around-the-clock business operations at about 17,800 stores across nation, except approximately 5 percent of its outlets operating in office buildings. However, the management of franchise stores is becoming more difficult due to rising labor costs triggered by a shortage of workers.

    Responding to the general labor shortage across the country, the trend to reduce operating hours is expanding in the restaurant industry and other fields. However, convenience stores fall under a different management model on the assumption of operating 24 hours a day.

    To date, no major convenience store chains have shortened their operating hours as they are afraid of losing out to rival stores. Although Lawson Inc. did carry out a similar experiment to FamilyMart's in some stores in the past, it decided not to change its around-the-clock operations, on the grounds that "sales decreased."

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