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Japanese convenience stores think small to survive

Lawson is looking to open smaller stores in office buildings in Indonesia, such as this one in Jakarta.

JAKARTA -- Japanese convenience store operators are shrinking the size of their outlets in Indonesia amid growing competition from local rivals. But the strategy of pursuing profitability over scale runs the risk of downsizing the companies out of the market.

     In Jakarta, the two leading local operators -- Indomaret and Alfamart -- have over 10,000 outlets each. Japanese rivals are finding it difficult to stay competitive with their traditional focus on larger shops, which often include cafes. To fight back, Lawson and Seven-Eleven Japan plan to increase the number of smaller stores in office and commercial buildings.

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