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Let's discuss around-the-clock service

This week’s featured article

JIJI

Seven-Eleven Japan Co. will test shorter operating hours at 10 of its corporate-run convenience stores across the country from mid-March.

The chain said Friday it will conduct such a test for the first time, as frustration builds among some franchisees over its policy of keeping stores open around the clock.

The 10 Seven-Eleven stores, spread nationwide, including in Tokyo and Miyagi, Tochigi, Chiba, Aichi, Hyogo, Fukuoka and Kumamoto prefectures, will operate between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. daily in the coming months.

The Seven & I Holdings Co. unit will consider whether to permanently introduce shorter hours after analyzing the results, including on sales, visitor numbers and logistics.

Currently, 96 percent of all Seven-Eleven stores operate 24 hours a day, with those located inside train stations, office buildings and other facilities being the primary exceptions.

The company has stuck to its around-the-clock policy, fearing that some stores with shorter opening hours could affect the overall efficiency of its production and distribution system.

But there are growing calls to allow shorter hours, due mainly to difficulties in securing the necessary number of workers for the night shift.

Among other major convenience store operators, Lawson Inc. and FamilyMart Co., a unit of FamilyMart Uny Holdings Co., currently allow some stores to have shorter opening hours.

Many smaller chains, including Secoma Co. and Poplar Co., allow stores to close overnight.

Published in The Japan Times on March. 2.

Warm up

One minute chat about convenience stores.

Game

Collect words related to time, e.g., clock, morning, late, 24-hour service

New words

1) permanently: remaining unchanged forever, e.g., “The contract will be permanently invalid from next year.”

2) around-the-clock: operating 24 hours a day, e.g., “The factory is open around-the-clock from Monday to Friday.”

3) efficiency: The state of achieving maximum productivity with minimum wasted effort, “The way of hiring at our office focuses on efficiency so the process is smooth.”

Guess the headline

S_ _ _ _-_ _ _ _ _ _ Japan to test s_ _ _ _ _ _ operating hours at 10 corporate-run stores

Questions

1) What is the test that is being carried out in the article?

2) How many stores will take part in the test?

2) What is the purpose of the test?

3) Why has Seven-Eleven stuck to its policy when it comes to operating hours?

Let’s discuss the article

1) How often and on what occasion do you use convenience stores?

2) What do you think about the trial?

3) Do you think customers will be OK if convenience stores have shorter hours?

Reference

今や日本の町の欠かせない一部となったコンビニエンスストアを毎日のように利用するという人も多くいることでしょう。その名の通り、利用者にとっての”便利”を追求することを極めた結果、24時間365日いつでもお店が開いているというのがコンビニの当たり前の姿となりました。しかし、ここに来てその在り方を見直そうとする動きが出ています。私たちの便利が、他の誰かを窮屈にしてきたことが露呈されているということなのかもしれません。皆が気持ちよく毎日を過ごせるために、コンビニはどのように変わっていくべきなのか、朝の会に参加し皆さんで話し合ってみましょう。

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