Business / Corporate

Japan convenience store chain Ministop tests shorter operating hours at franchise outlets

JIJI

Convenience store operator Ministop Co. is experimenting with shortened service hours at dozens of its franchise shops.

Seventy stores have signed up for the trial, which began in September and runs until the end of February. The initiative will be expanded if more stores wish to participate.

Based on findings from the test, the company will officially permit shorter opening hours if necessary.

“In a policy shift, we’ll consider allowing service hours other than around-the-clock operations after confirming the circumstances of franchise stores,” Ministop President Akihiro Fujimoto said in a briefing Thursday on the company’s financial results for the March-August first half.

Among domestic peers, Seven-Eleven Japan Co. is testing shortened operations at about 230 stores. According to a survey conducted in July, some 2,200 franchise stores, or about 10 percent of the total, had expressed a wish to reduce operating hours.

FamilyMart Co. is conducting a similar trial at about 20 shops. The move will be expanded to cover some 660 stores later this month.

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