In a move to make Christmas shopping accessible for everyone, The Entertainer has re-introduced its Christmas Quiet Hours, an initiative that will take place every day throughout December across its 171 UK stores.
The campaign aims to create a calmer shopping environment for autistic people and for any shoppers who find the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping an uncomfortable experience.
With lockdown restrictions now lifted across the country, the Christmas shopping season is set to be a busy one. An increased number of people, as well as sounds and lights can often be overwhelming and stressful for some shoppers.
Store staff have previously undertaken additional training to help them support customers who may be overwhelmed by the sensory overload that Christmas shopping can be for many. While other retailers will be turning up the Christmas music and adding flashing lights, The Entertainer will be turning off its Christmas songs and dimming the lights for the first hour of trading each day.
Research from the National Autistic Society found that 50 per cent of autistic people and their families sometimes avoid going out because of concern about people’s reaction to their autism and that sadly over a quarter (28 per cent) have been asked to leave a public space because of behaviours related to their autism.
Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer, said: “Shopping during the festive season can be challenging for those who find the hustle and bustle and additional lights and noise uncomfortable. So, in our ongoing commitment to making our stores more accessible to all, our Christmas Quiet Hour is returning throughout December.
“For the first hour of opening each day we will switch off the music, dim the lights wherever possible and aim to make our stores feel calmer. This is to show our continued support for our autistic customers and their families and for those who find shopping during the festive season more challenging, particularly in a year of so much change. We hope that it helps to make Christmas shopping with us enjoyable for everyone.”
The Christmas Quiet Hour will be in operation from opening until 10am at each store throughout December. The Entertainer has also extended its opening hours nationwide wherever possible, from 8am-8pm Monday to Saturday so that shoppers can visit its 171 stores across the country with more flexibility than before.
Opening times will vary for each store but all information can also be found at: https://www.thetoyshop.com/store-finder
To find out more about the National Autistic Society’s please visit: www.autism.org.uk