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Fast Retailing to trial four day week

Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing is to offer a new four day work schedule to 10,000 staff.

About one in five employees of Uniqlo, Theory and J Brand stores will be given the chance to work four 10 hour days – effectively giving them a three day weekend – although their work days will include Saturday and Sunday.  

While four day weeks – with longer working days – are not uncommon in Japanese corporate offices, the concept is new to store front retail. The take-up is likely to be influenced by workers’ personal circumstances; parents of school age children, for example, are unlikely to find it attractive. But it may suit those with older relatives to look after.

Uniqlo is positioning the move as part of a broader goal to reduce employee churn. With all new staff spending two weeks in training, replacing workers is costly.

“We feel we have to enrich them,” Uniqlo USA Chief Executive Larry Meyer told Bloomberg in an interview in March. “If people are happy, the retention rate is high. If not, the retention rate is low.”

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