• Kyodo


Lawson Inc. will close around 85 of its convenience stores across Japan during the country’s New Year’s holiday period, sources close to the matter said Wednesday, breaking from the industry’s 24 hours per day, 365 days per year standard.

The convenience store operator will allow franchise owners to shut stores for several days between Dec. 30 and Jan. 3, as customer numbers are expected to decline at outlets in business districts.

Some convenience stores also face difficulty securing enough staff, including part-timers, during the holidays, the sources said.

This is only the second time Lawson has allowed multiple franchise owners to close outlets over a New Year’s holiday period after it closed 102 stores for the New Year’s holidays earlier this year in a trial to gauge the impact on business operations.

As of late November, 367 of Lawson’s 14,503 stores regularly operate with reduced hours.

Among other chains, Seven-Eleven Japan Co. will keep its outlets running as usual during the New Year’s holidays. FamilyMart Co. plans to send substitute staff to stores operated by franchise owners who want to take leave.

For the upcoming holiday season, many supermarkets and restaurants in Japan plan to close amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

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