TOKYO – Japanese
convenience stores have long been open 24 hours a day, but a national labor
shortage is making it difficult to staff locations round the clock, the Japan
Times reports. While the major c-store chains continue to open new
locations, some are closing overnight because of staffing issues.
FamilyMart Co. is
one that has has tried closing stores late at night. FamilyMart President
Takashi Sawada recently said that always-open operating hours aren’t
“necessary” at some locations.
another way to work around not having enough manpower in their outlets.
FamilyMart also is experimenting with vending-machine based stores. Lawson Inc.
will test an overnight unattended checkout system that allows customers to
purchase items via a smartphone app.
operator of Seicomart stores, operates a fourth of its stores as 24-hour
locations. In addition, around half of its stores closed for New Year’s Day.
The company said such measures improve working environments and provide a more
flexible schedule for employees.
Co. has no plans to limit operating hours. “The best measure (against the labor
shortage) is to prepare a good working environment,” said Seven-Eleven Japan
President Kazuki Furuya. “We’re not running short of staff.”
stores acknowledge that hours of operation changes would impact more than just
a store’s bottom line, as stores often prevent crime and help with disaster
response because of their 24-hour operations, according to Lawson President