Walmart Announces Daily ‘Sensory-Friendly’ Hours at All Stores Nationwide

Walmart Announces Daily ‘Sensory-Friendly’ Hours at All Stores Nationwide

Walmart is rolling out a new set of hours that it says will make people who struggle with becoming easily overstimulated more comfortable in its stores beginning later this week.

The retail giant announced that for 14 hours each week, stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico will become more relaxed from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. seven days a week local time.

Such programs by retailers are designed to cater to people with autism and attention deficit disorders. Walmart tested a pilot program for sensory-friendly hours earlier this year and will now make them permanent.

“The feedback of the pilot program was overwhelmingly positive. These changes may have seemed small to some, but for others they transformed the shopping experience,” the company said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“We’re excited to share we are bringing back sensory-friendly hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time, not only on Saturdays but every day at all Walmart U.S. and Puerto Rico stores, beginning Nov. 10, with no planned end date.”

“During these hours, we hope our customers and associates will find the stores to be a little easier on the eyes and ears,” the statement added. “These changes are thanks to those who shared their feedback on how their stores could help them feel like they belong.”

Three Walmart executives signed the statement.

Denise Malloy Deaderick, whose title with Walmart is “Senior Vice President and Chief Belonging Officer,” was among them.

The company’s statement concluded: “From face-to-face conversations, emails, listening sessions, social media and our personal experiences in the stores, we have seen what these changes mean for our customers and associates.

“And, we continue to welcome feedback on how we can enhance these sensory-friendly measures in our stores. Our mission is to help families save money, so they can live better, and we’ll continue to take steps to fulfill that promise for everyone who comes through our doors.”

Walmart also shared comments from employees and customers who said the new sensory-friendly hours will make their loved ones more comfortable.

One shopper who said her child suffers from autism praised the decision.

“Little things such as lighting, noise, etc. does make a difference,” the shopper said.

According to The Place for Children with Autism, more and more retailers are converting store hours for sensory-sensitive customers.

“Individuals on the autism spectrum process sensory information differently than their neurotypical peers,” the behavior health center said. “Sometimes this means that people on the spectrum take in more of that information and can become overwhelmed, especially in public settings.”

Sensory-friendly hours in stores can include less noise, lower lighting, fewer strong scents and other accommodations.

In some cases, employees are asked not to make eye contact with customers with autistism and to understand that some individuals can take figures of speech literally.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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