TOKYO -- FamilyMart Co. revealed on May 25 that it will introduce shorter business hours at 787 franchise stores in Japan from June 1.
Some 5.4% of all franchises under the major convenience store chain, excluding outlets inside commercial facilities, will put an end to their 24-hour operations and shift to reduced business hours. Each franchise owner can decide a closing time between 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. Of these stores, 514 stated that they will operate over shorter hours every day, while the remaining 273 outlets have chosen to do so only on Sundays.
When asked for the reason for applying for operational reform, 57.5% of the stores answered that they applied due to labor shortages, followed by 18.9% that said, "Customers are few in number during the nighttime," and 16.1% that expressed a desire to improve the working environment.
FamilyMart began to introduce reduced operational hours at some of its stores on a trial basis in June 2019 and from March this year had recruited franchises that wished to cut back on business hours. Some 14,600 stores with 24-hour operations were eligible to apply, excluding stores directly managed by owners.
There has been a growing movement among franchise outlets of each major convenience store operator to demand a change in contracts in order to gain reduced hours and holiday breaks. About 300 Seven-Eleven Japan Co. stores and around 250 Lawson Inc. outlets are currently operating under shorter hours. FamilyMart also plans to continue allowing stores to trim their business hours if they apply.
(Japanese original by Hajime Nakatsugawa, Business News Department)