An Asda supermarket in Manchester is introducing a “quiet hour” to help autistic shoppers who can feel stressed by noise. The Cheetham Hill Asda Living store will turn off escalators, screens and music for an hour on Saturday 7 May. The store will open an hour early and no announcements will be made during the quiet hour between 08:00 and 09:00 BST.
General manager Simon Lea came up with the idea after watching an autistic child and his mother struggle on the shop floor. “I suffered for many years with anxiety and I used to absolutely hate going into busy stores. If we can make a few small changes to give these customers a better shopping experience and make them comfortable then I know the store will be a better place to shop for everyone,” Mr Lea said.
The National Autistic Society (NAS) said it welcomed the move as shops and other public spaces could be “extremely challenging” because of bright lights, strong smells and crowds.