Nov 7, 2023 - Economy

Walmart adding daily "sensory-friendly" store hours

A family shops through back to school aisle

Walmart piloted sensory-friendly hours for one day each week over the summer. Photo: Courtesy of Walmart

Walmart stores nationwide will lower the lights, turn off the radio and change their TV walls to a static image for daily "sensory-friendly hours," the retailer announced Tuesday.

Why it matters: Walmart's hours, which start Friday, appear to be the biggest shopping program yet for people with sensory processing issues, which include autism, ADHD and PTSD.

The big picture: Sensory-friendly hours have become more mainstream and the special hours have a more relaxed pace that allows people with sensory issues to participate more fully in normal life routines.

  • Museums and other cultural institutions that cater to children spearheaded the special hours more than a decade ago, Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson reports.
  • AMC Theatres offers a regular schedule of sensory-friendly films in partnership with the Autism Society, and Chuck E. Cheese holds "Sensory Sensitive Sundays."

Walmart's sensory-friendly hours

The world's largest retailer said in a blog post that stores are making shopping "more inclusive for those with sensory disabilities by taking measures to create a less stimulating environment."

  • Walmart's sensory-friendly hours will be 8 to 10am local time each day at all U.S. and Puerto Rico stores.
  • There is "no planned end date," the retailer said.

What they're saying: "During these hours, we hope our customers and associates will find the stores to be a little easier on the eyes and ears," Walmart executives said in the blog post.

Flashback: Walmart piloted sensory-friendly hours over the summer for back-to-school shopping but only on Saturdays.

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