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Morrisons to introduce Quieter Hour for nation’s shoppers

PUBLISHED: 15:15 17 July 2018 | UPDATED: 19:31 17 July 2018

WM Morrisons Supermarkets in Colindale. PHOTO: Teri Pengilley

WM Morrisons Supermarkets in Colindale. PHOTO: Teri Pengilley

Teri Pengilley

A supermarket chain will be turning off the tannoys and embracing a calmer atmosphere with a new weekly quiet hour.

From this Saturday Morrisons stores around the country are introducing Quieter Hour, meaning no music or tannoy announcements, dimmed lights, reduced basket and trolley movement, and turned down volumes on self-service checkouts.

This is to make sure that shopping is made as smooth as possible for people that might find shopping difficult, and for those that have enhanced needs, such as Autism.

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.

Statements appeared on various Facebook community groups explaining the new measures.

Emily Blanchflower posted on Wymondham Ways: “As a company, Morrisons have listened to feedback from both customers and staff and the National Autistic Society and this was seen as a good way to make sure everyone is treated fairly.

“We hope this is something that, as a community, helps make shopping experiences, that little bit easier.”

Cherry Saunders commented: “So thoughtful and community minded. A big well done Morrisons for your leadership in this area.”

Vicky Ellis-Frost Fantastic also commented on the post: “Will also be great for other people with sensory overload symptoms such as conditions like PTSD/CPTSD/anxiety.”

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.

Morrisons will also work to improve awareness amongst colleagues of the issues Autistic customers face in store.

Stores will display posters informing customers when Quiet Hour is happening.

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