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Convenience store operator FamilyMart Co. is planning to work with the Japan Post Holdings Co. group to open unmanned convenience stores within post offices throughout Japan, sources have said.

FamilyMart will open the first such store with an unmanned checkout counter by the end of this month at a post office in the city of Kawagoe, in Saitama Prefecture.

With the convenience store market saturating in Japan, FamilyMart is aiming to open 1,000 unmanned convenience stores mainly in unconventional locations by the end of fiscal 2024.

At shops with an unmanned payment system, the store recognizes the products customers take from shelves using cameras mounted on the ceiling and sensors on the shelves.

As there are no cashiers, customers pay for their purchases using a special payment device.

While the costs of opening such stores are not cheap, FamilyMart will be able to secure a profit even for smaller stores as the system will reduce operating costs, including labor costs.

FamilyMart and Japan Post Holdings formed a business tie-up in 2016.

Japan Post also worked with convenience store operator Lawson Inc. in 2008 to open convenience stores within post offices. While the two announced a goal of opening 800 stores together, they have only managed to open around 110 such stores so far.

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