It is 3pm. In-store computers at a convenience store chain in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward decide which food items should be discounted and by how much. Assorted sandwiches, one, 20 yen ($0.13) off, and crispy ham and lettuce sandwiches, three, 30 yen off, a display says.
Then a manager prints out price tags and goes about attaching them to items. Eight assorted sandwiches line the shelf, but only one, approaching its expiration date, is discounted.
More Japanese convenience stores and supermarkets are now using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse data such as past sales figures to decide what discounts to apply to perishable products to boost sales and cut food waste, reports Kyodo News Plus.
Lawson Inc, one of Japan's largest convenience store chains, introduced a system in 2015 where AI at its head office advises store managers and experienced staff on product management at all stores.
To calculate how far to lower prices, the software considers a store's sales, delivery times and the local weather conditions to propose a price that gives the product the best chance at being sold.