MORRISONS has announced it is teaming up with the National Autistic Society to introduce a quiet shopping hour every Saturday at its stores in Bromsgrove, Rubery and Droitwich.
It is aimed at shoppers who are autistic or who have autistic children who find shopping an anxious or daunting experience.
During the quiet hour, between 9am and 10am the lights will be dimmed, music and radio stations will be turned off, there will be no tannoy announcements, there will be reduced movement of trolleys and baskets and checkout beeps and other electrical noises will be turned down.
Morrisons carried out a trial earlier in the year in three of its stores to find out what improvements can be made and to find a convenient time each week for the ‘Quieter Hour’ to take place.
Listening to customers they found one in five had a friend or family member with autism and many appreciated the option to shop at that time on a Saturday.
Morrisons is also working to improve awareness amongst colleagues of the issues autistic customers face in store.
Daniel Cadey, from the National Autistic Society said: “Around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK.
“This means they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people, often in a more intense way. Morrisons ‘Quieter Hour’ is a step in the right direction for autistic people who find supermarket shopping a real struggle.”
Matt Dunkers at Morrisons Droitwich said: “Our initial trials showed there is a need for a quieter shopping experience. We hope that these changes make a real difference for some of our customers at our store.”