Seven-Eleven Japan Ends Contract with Rebel Franchisee

Economy

Tokyo/Higashiosaka, Dec. 31 (Jiji Press)--Major convenience store operator Seven-Eleven Japan Co. terminated its franchise contract at midnight Monday (3 p.m. GMT) with a store in the city of Higashiosaka, Osaka Prefecture, western Japan, that has ceased around-the-clock services without consent from the company's headquarters.

Following the termination of the contract, the store's owner, Mitoshi Matsumoto, plans to continue its operations on his own. He is slated to file a lawsuit early next year against the unit of Japanese retail giant Seven & i Holdings Co. <3382> for a court judgment recognizing his status as the owner of the Seven-Eleven Japan franchise store.

On Monday, the store closed at 11 p.m. Without the franchise contract, the store cannot use its existing cash registers or procure products through the Seven-Eleven Japan logistics network. Still, Matsumoto told reporters that he is happy as his confrontation with the company has helped the convenience store industry move for shorter operating hours to a certain degree.

The store abandoned around-the-clock operations in February 2019, triggering a nationwide debate about the business of 24-hour convenience stores.

On Dec. 20, the company notified the Higashiosaka store of its plan to end the franchise contract unless the store "improves" its visitor services. The store owner promised to make improvements, and held talks with the company side on Sunday. Despite this, the franchiser went ahead with the plan to scrap the contract.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press