AEON says it will stick with its operating hours

AEON Okinawa, operators of AEON department stores and MaxValu supermarkets on the island, says it’s going to stick with earlier opening times first adopted this year as an energy conservation measure.

The stores on Okinawa, and at 1,400 branches across Japan, now open at 7 a.m. instead of the previous 9 a.m., to save electricity. When the hours’ change was first announced, it was to only be effective from June through September 1st.

To AEON’s surprise, the earlier opening time has proven to be favored by customers, while at the same time contributing to energy savings. AEON says it will keep with the early hours year around at all stores in Japan except for areas with high snowfall, such as Hokkaido, Tohoku, Hokuriku and Shinetsu. AEON says the company received a lot of positive feedback from customers, such as “It enables me to use my time effectively,” and “it is handy because I can use my time effectively before going to the office.”

An AEON Customer Survey found the 7 a.m. opening time particularly popular among working women, who say it allows them time to complete their daily shopping after taking their kids to a nursery school, and before having to go to the office. The hours seem good for AEON’s financial bottom line, too. Sales figures for the morning hours before noon have increased 10% from a year ago.