Aldi has become the latest supermarket to introduce a quiet shopping period aimed at creating a “sensory-friendly” experience for those who struggle with noisy environments.
From next week until the end of October, about 100 Aldi stores across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire will offer a quieter shopping experience every Tuesday from 6pm-8.30pm.
If successful, the initiative is to be rolled out to all the discounter’s UK stores, with changes including stopping PA announcements, quieter till scan sounds, and signposting the dedicated times to all customers.
“Our new sensory-friendly shopping hours aim to help those who prefer a quieter shopping experience or struggle with noisy environments,” said Aldi UK diversity & inclusion director Vicky Metcalf.
“We are committed to ensuring we are as accessible and inclusive as possible – both for shoppers and colleagues – and we look forward to receiving customer feedback on this trial to help inform our approach on a national level.”
Other supermarkets to have taken similar steps, aimed at helping shoppers with hidden disabilities such as autism, include Asda, which introduced quiet shopping hours from 2pm-3pm on Mondays and Thursdays in 2021.
Research by a leading autism charity, Autistica, in 2018 found up to 80% of autistic people and their carers had abandoned in-store shopping at major supermarkets.