- To support shoppers with sensory disabilities, Walmart is adding sensory-friendly hours between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. local time every day at all of its stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, the retail giant announced Tuesday.
- Starting Friday, the stores will turn off the radio, lower the lights where possible and change the TV walls to a static image during those hours. The company does not have an end date for these changes, according to the announcement.
- Walmart decided to add sensory-friendly hours to all of its stores after receiving positive feedback from a pilot initiative earlier this year.
Walmart tested out sensory-friendly hours during the back-to-school season but previously limited the hours to Saturday mornings. Initially, the retailer offered this accomodation in July and August.
“These changes may have seemed small to some, but for others, they transformed the shopping experience,” the company wrote in its announcement. “During these hours, we hope our customers and associates will find the stores to be a little easier on the eyes and ears. These changes are thanks to those who shared their feedback on how their stores could help them feel like they belong.”
Walmart has previously made other changes to its operations to serve customers with concerns. Beyond changing its operations for customers with sensory disabilities, the company early on in the COVID-19 pandemic set aside 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. as the grocery pickup hour for shoppers aged 60 and older, first responders, customers with disabilities and other high-risk shoppers.
In addition to making its stores more inclusive, Walmart has invested in revamping its stores nationwide. Last month, the retailer said it is investing more than $9 billion over two years to upgrade over 1,400 U.S. locations with new features, including improved layouts, broader product selections, QR codes with helpful product information and nursing rooms for families.