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Japan's FamilyMart to test alternatives to 24-hour model

Convenience store chain joins moves to help short-handed franchisees

This FamilyMart in Yokohama, which is testing out a new labor-saving facial recognition system with Panasonic, does not operate 24 hours a day. (Photo by Kei Higuchi)

TOKYO -- Japanese convenience store operator FamilyMart will recruit franchisees to test shorter hours as the industry grapples with a labor crunch that has made it harder to maintain the traditional round-the-clock model, Nikkei has learned.

The company, a subsidiary of FamilyMart Uny Holdings, will as early as June try having stores close late at night on Sundays in some areas, including parts of Tokyo and Nagasaki Prefecture. It will test other reduced schedules in southern Akita Prefecture and elsewhere in Tokyo, among other locations. Several dozen of the 270 or so franchise stores in the selected regions are expected to agree to participate.

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