Convenience Stores Changing With The Times

Japan Today

Feel like instant noodles or fried chicken at 3 a.m.? Need some toothpaste? No problem, there’s bound to be a convenience store within walking distance.

The nearly 50,000 “conbini” stores nationwide, more than 90% of which are run by franchisees, sell just about everything. You name it, they’ve probably it.

Since 7-Eleven Japan (then called York Seven) opened the nation’s first convenience store in Tokyo’s Koto Ward in 1974, convenience stores have become a part of local community life, not only selling merchandise, but also acting as ticket agents for events, accepting utility payments, providing bank, postal and delivery services, handling laundry, home cleaning services, printing service for New Year cards, sales of garbage pick-up tickets and online shopping.

Combined sales are estimated at over 7 trillion yen a year, according to the Japan Franchise Association (JFA).

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