THE Yorkshire-based supermarket chain Morrisons is to introduce a quieter hour in all of its stores for customers who would benefit from a calmer shopping trip.
Designed to help customers who currently struggle with music and the other noise associated with supermarket shopping, it will take place every Saturday in all 493 of the company’s stores nationwide from 9am to 10am.
The Quieter Hour initiative has been created with the support of the National Autistic Society.
A spokesman said: “Many people who are autistic or those with autistic children can find shopping in a supermarket an anxious experience. Morrisons carried out a trial earlier in the year in three of its stores - Lincoln, Woking and Gainsborough - 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.”
During the quieter hours, stores will dim their lights, turn music and the radio off and avoid making tannoy announcements.
Stores will also reduce movement of trolleys and baskets and turn checkout beeps and other electrical noises down.
Bradford-based Morrisons will also work to improve awareness among staff 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.”