Japan: convenience stores encouraged to change practices

Charles Chan
Senior Retail Analyst

Date : 04 September 2020

Japan’s anti-monopoly regulators are encouraging convenience store chains to provide franchises the option to reduce store trading hours.

24 hours trading a hot topic

In a report by the Fair Trade Commission, it said, "We indicated that it could be a problem under the anti-monopoly laws. We requested immediate improvements and asked that improvements be reported to us." The commission warned that some practices are “abusing a superior bargaining position.” In general, the Japanese government continues to encourage convenience store chains to invest in technology such as artificial intelligence and automation to address labour shortages, and place greater efforts to reduce food waste.

FamilyMart has been the leader in the market in terms of relaxing 24 hours trading. About 14,600 stores that operate 24-hours are eligible to apply and shorten trading hours. However, only a proportion of 7-Eleven and Lawson stores are allowed / trade reduced hours.