Walmart initially held sensory-friendly shopping hours during this year's back-to-school season.
In an effort to create a more inclusive experience for all of its customers, Walmart will offer sensory-friendly shopping hours every day from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time. The hours will be offered at all Walmart U.S. and Puerto Rico stores, beginning Nov. 10, with no planned end date.
Walmart initially offered special shopping hours for those with sensory disabilities each Saturday during the back-to-school season. The retailer changed its television walls to a static image, turned off the radio and lowered the lights where possible, and said it received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the pilot program.
“During these hours, we hope our customers and associates will find the stores to be a little easier on the eyes and ears,” wrote Denise Malloy Deaderick, SVP and chief belonging officer; Cedric Clark, EVP, store operations, Walmart U.S.; and Alvis Washington, VP, retail brand experience, in a company blog post. “These changes are thanks to those who shared their feedback on how their stores could help them feel like they belong.”
Earlier this month, Pacific Northwestindependent grocer New Seasons Market introduced a Sensory Friendly Hour. Once a week, from 7 p.m. through 8 p.m., the food retailer’s stores will offer a calm and sensory-friendly shopping environment by refraining from making overhead announcements, playing music and lowering the volume of walkie talkies.
New Seasons employs nearly 2,700 associates at its 20 stores in Oregon and Washington state, offering a mix of locally sourced and organic items, classic grocery favorites, and chef-made grab-and-go meal solutions.
Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named Walmart one of its Retailers of the Century.