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FamilyMart to test shorter business hours at stores on larger scale across Japan

This undated photo shows a FamilyMart logo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO -- Major convenience store chain FamilyMart Co. is set to experiment with shorter business hours on a larger scale from this June in efforts to review its around-the-clock operations due to serious labor shortages.

Though FamilyMart had already tried out shorter operating hours in some stores from 2017, it now plans to seek the participation of 270 franchise stores based in certain designated areas. This way, FamilyMart can verify the possibility of a change in its delivery system for the distribution of goods in addition to examining the impact on store sales and company revenue as well as the effects of a reduction in labor costs.

The experiment will be run for a minimum of three months at each store. Franchise stores including those located in Tokyo's Toshima Ward and the prefectural capital of Akita in northern Japan can choose non-operational times from three options: 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. or 1 a.m. to 5 a.m. Franchise stores located in Tokyo's Bunkyo and Chiyoda wards as well as the Nagasaki Prefecture cities of Isahaya and Omura in southwestern Japan are given two choices: from 12 a.m. to 5 a.m. or from 1 a.m. to 5 a.m.

FamilyMart currently provides 100,000 yen in financial incentives per month to its franchise stores. The amount will be increased to reduce the burden of rising labor costs due to staff shortages at such stores.

Meanwhile, convenience store giant Lawson Inc. has permitted shorter operating hours at about 40 of its stores across Japan and Seven-Eleven Japan Co. has been experimenting with shorter business hours at about 10 of its stores nationwide since March.

(Japanese original by Shiho Fujibuchi, Business News Department)

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