Walmart is rolling out sensory-friendly in-store hours, aimed at individuals who are more sensitive to light, sound, and moving images.
During the hours, between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Saturdays, stores nationwide will replace moving pictures on screens with static images, and a number of locations will turn off music and lower overhead lights to create an environment more friendly to those with autism and other disabilities.
Stores will implement the sensory-friendly store hours over the coming weeks, as parents prep for back-to-school, according to reporting from the Alabama Media Group. Walmart already did a small rollout of the new hours on July 22. The hours will end at the end of August.
Walmart said the move is aimed at being more inclusive to its neuro-divergent customers.
“We are striving every day to create a culture where everyone feels they belong. This year, Walmart is taking steps toward creating a quieter shopping environment that’s more enjoyable for customers who live with sensory disabilities,” said Julie Barber, executive vice president of general merchandise at Walmart.
Target has also been known to offer sensory-friendly hours during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons.
Since 2019, grocery stores in Canada have also been providing shoppers the option of daily sensory-friendly hours . From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays, Sobeys, Safeway, and other stores turn down the stimuli within the aisles.
Sobeys has also worked closely with local Autism networks and other community organizations to help understand how certain barriers in grocery stores impact those with sensory sensitivities.