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Walmart is adding sensory-friendly hours to all stores

Walmart adding daily sensory-friendly hours
Walmart adding daily sensory-friendly hours 00:21

Walmart announced Tuesday that it is making changes to create a calmer shopping experience, at least for a few hours every day in all of its US stores, including its 48 locations in Massachusetts.

Set to be implemented on Nov. 10, the changes include setting in-store TV walls to a static image, turning off the radio, and lowering the store lights. Walmart said it learned during a pilot test for the back-to-school shopping period that these efforts are especially beneficial to neurodiverse individuals - both customers and employees - with sensory disabilities.

"Earlier this year, we took a step in making shopping in our stores more inclusive for those with sensory disabilities by taking measures to create a less stimulating environment for a couple hours each Saturday. The feedback of the pilot program was overwhelmingly positive," the retailer said in a blogpost Tuesday. "These changes may have seemed small to some, but for others they transformed the shopping experience."

Walmart said the sensory-friendly hours will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. (local time) seven days a week in all Walmart US and Puerto Rico stores, and don't have a planned end date.

The retailer told CNN that the changes, for now, will roll out only at its Walmart locations and not at its Sam's Club warehouse locations.

More inclusive shopping  

Other retailers are also getting on board with creating a more inclusive shopping experience.

Walmart's rival Target sells an exclusive line of children's home decor and furnishings that are designed to be sensory-friendly.

In October, Victoria's Secret for the first time announced it would sell intimate apparel in all of its stores and online that is specially designed to meet the needs of women with disabilities.

It said the clothing has adaptive features such as magnetic closures and sensory-friendly fabric. The move by Victoria's Secret shows mainstream brands and retailers - and not only niche sellers - catering to differently abled consumers.

Latest change to Walmart stores

The sensory friendly announcement comes just days after Walmart relaunched 117 stores in 30 states, including Massachusetts, with multibillion dollar upgrades. 

The Worcester Walmart had a grand re-opening on Friday, while another location in Fall River will officially debut its new look next week. Walmart remodeled stores in North Dartmouth, Swansea, North Adams and Salem, New Hampshire earlier this year.

The upgraded stores have "dollar shops" inside them, along with bigger pharmacy areas with private screening rooms. There will also be more checkout lines, plus grab-and-go food and drink offerings. 

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