IF YOU went to Coles this morning you might have noticed the lights were a little less bright and the store a bit quieter.
Ipswich and Springfield Coles have joined a growing number of stores that are providing low-sensory Quiet Hour experiences.
Quiet Hour has now expanded from 14 Coles stores to 41 stores throughout the state every Tuesday between 10:30-11:30am after an overwhelmingly positive response.
Ipswich Store Support Manager Shannon Ross said anyone was welcome to come during Quiet Hour.
"It was well supported,” Ms Ross said of the initiative.
"It doesn't mean you have to have sensory issues. It's a calming experience.
"The response from customers has been they enjoyed it.”
During the hour the lights were dimmed to half, the music was turned off and no PA announcements made.
The registers were even turned down ahead of the 10.30 start time and staff limited the noise they made, holding off any noisy tasks.
The idea is to provide a more inclusive shopping environment for all customers.
Coles State General Manager Jerry Farrell said Coles was rolling out Quiet Hour to more stores across the state based on overwhelmingly positive customer feedback.
"We've listened to our customers and have worked hard to make our stores more welcoming and responsive to the needs of the local communities in which we operate,” he said.
"We initially started with 14 Quiet Hour stores in Queensland, and we're thrilled to be almost trebling this figure to make Quiet Hour more accessible for our customers and help make a difference to their shopping experience at Coles.”
In August 2017, Coles partnered with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) to trial Quiet Hour at two Victorian stores (Ringwood and Balwyn East) to support customers who are, or have family members, on the autism spectrum.
After a successful trial, Quiet Hour was initially rolled out to 70 supermarkets across the country. From tomorrow, 173 stores in Australia will now offer the low-sensory experience.
Quiet Hour promotes reduced noise, lighting and distractions in-store, making it easier for customers who find it challenging to shop in a heightened sensory environment.
During Quiet Hour, customers will notice the following changes in participating Coles supermarkets:
- Lighting will be reduced throughout the store
- Coles Radio will be switched off
- Register and scanner volumes will be reduced to the lowest level
- No trolley collections and roll cages will be removed from the shop floor
- No PA announcements *excluding in case of emergencies
- Free fruit will be offered at customer service
- Additional team members will be available to support customers during the hour