Convenience store operator FamilyMart Co said on Thursday it would allow its franchise owners across Japan to reduce opening hours from March in an attempt to address a serious shortage of labor during the opening hours. night time.
Under the new policy, which covers almost 16.000 stores, franchise owners can close between 23: 00 and 07: 00 if they notify headquarters of their wish in advance.
"It is up to each of our franchise owners to make a decision" to close down 24 hours, FamilyMart President Takashi Sawada told a news conference in Tokyo.
Shop owners who want to reduce opening hours may also choose to do so every day or only on Sundays, the company said.
Meanwhile, FamilyMart will increase its monthly incentive to 1200.000 yen for stores that maintain their 24 operations hours a day.
The move came after rival Seven-Eleven Japan Co. began cutting open hours at eight stores this month as part of efforts to mitigate labor shortages.
“We want to support tenants as much as possible, as it is a fact that some stores suffer from labor shortages, rising costs and low profitability,” Sawada added.
“We have to accelerate our support to our stores as quickly as possible,” said Sawada.
However, the company said it is not known how many stores will join the new business hours policy.
The chain operator began a trial for less time in June, with currently more than 600 outlets in designated areas, but the company decided to expand policy across the country before closely studying the test results.
More details of the new business policy will be delivered in March, the company said.
About 7.000 outlets, nearly half of FamilyMart stores in Japan, said they were interested in shorter opening hours, a company survey showed in June.
FamilyMart also said it will initiate a voluntary early retirement program to reduce 800 jobs or 10% of the franchisor's total employees by February, as part of the restructuring efforts.
Lawson Inc, another major convenience store operator in Japan, does not require franchise owners to open for 24 hours, with about 100 stores closed sometime in the day.