Lawson to allow alcohol sales at self-checkouts

Major Japanese convenience store chain Lawson will soon allow customers to buy alcoholic beverages and cigarettes at self-checkout counters.

With the new payment system, customers will be able to confirm their age just by inserting their driver's license into a slot.

Lawson has been testing the system at some of its stores and it plans a full-scale introduction as early as March next year at the request of stores.

Convenience store employees usually need to confirm a customer's age face-to-face when selling alcoholic beverages and cigarettes. But the stores have been facing an increasingly severe shortage of staff.

Lawson says, "With new system, we will be able to simplify store operations. We hope it will be a solution to cope with the labor shortage, especially during overnight and early-morning hours."

Rival convenience store chain FamilyMart has also been stepping up efforts to introduce a similar self-checkout system.