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Lawson to start unmanned night checkout service

The Yomiuri Shimbun

A man uses a smartphone to scan a product barcode at a Lawson store in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Monday.

Jiji Press TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Lawson Inc. said Monday it will introduce unattended checkout counter services late at night at some of its stores, in the first such step by a Japanese convenience store operator to tackle manpower shortages.

Lawson will start tests for such unattended operations at a few stores in Tokyo next spring, planning to put the service into practical use by the end of the year through February 2019.

Under the unattended service, customers will enter and leave stores by holding smartphones downloaded with a designated app against readers, from midnight to 5 a.m.

They will scan product barcodes using the phones and pay via payment apps, including Line Corp.’s Line Pay and other payment apps.

Shoplifters can be easily identified using the designated app. In addition, Lawson will increase the number of security cameras.

At least one worker will always be deployed during the unattended service hours, including for inventory checks.

Lawson will also carry out a test for robots that can automatically receive payments and put products into bags.

“We will streamline our business by using every technology, to continue 24-hour operations as part of the social infrastructure,” Lawson President and Chief Executive Officer Sadanobu Takemasu told a press conference.

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