After a successful trial in NSW and the ACT, Woolworths is rolling out low-sensory shopping experience Quiet Hour to more stores across Australia.
Over 260 Woolworths stores will dim their lights, turn down the volume of phones, registers and radio, and turn off oven buzzers for an hour every Tuesday between 10:30am and 11:30am to reduce anxiety and sensory stress for customers.
In addition, roll cages will be removed and there will be no PA announcements in-store unless there’s an emergency.
“We’ve heard from our customers there is a need in the community for a low sensory shopping experience. Off the back of successful trials, we’re delighted to expand Quiet Hour to select stores nationally for the benefit of even more customers,” Woolworths business support manager – admin and service Ian Murphy said.
“Our team takes great pride in ensuring the store is quieter and less stressful for customers who want to shop during Quiet Hour and we look forward to welcoming them in store.”
In March, rival supermarket Coles added ‘Quiet Hour’ to an additional 79 stores, bringing the total number of branches offering the experience to 256. Coles also trained staff to provide shopping support to customers who have autism.
According to Autism Spectrum Australia over 300,000 (or 1 in 70) Australians have autism.
Woolworths is working with disability service provider Life Without Barriers to create the low sensory environment at its supermarket.
“Quiet Hour is a fantastic accessibility initiative by Woolworths that recognises that people have different accessibility needs. It gives people a way to do their shopping and increase their independence in an environment that is not stressful and overwhelming to them,”
Life Without Barriers chief executive Claire Robbs said.