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 its stores nationwide from 9-10am.
The Quieter Hour initiative has been created with the support of the National Autistic Society. Many people who are autistic or those with autistic children can find shopping in a supermarket an anxious experience.
So 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 Quieter Hours stores will:
- Dim the lights
- Turn music and radio off
- Avoid making tannoy announcements
- Reduce movement of trolleys and baskets
- Turn checkout beeps and other electrical noises down
- Place a poster outside to tell customers it's Quieter Hour
Morrisons will also work 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."
Angela Gray, Morrisons Community Champion at Woking said: "I was involved in the initial trial as my son is autistic and we found that these changes made a real difference. The trial showed there is a need for a quieter shopping experience for some customers."
* of customers surveyed during trial
For further information contact: Morrisons Press Office – 0845 611 5111