While other retailers will be turning up the Christmas carols and adding flashing lights, The Entertainer will be turning off its Christmas songs and muting the lights wherever possible for an hour a day.
In order to make the busy, booming Christmas shopping season accessible for everyone, The Entertainer has introduced a Christmas Quiet Hour, taking place every day in its 171 stores across the country.
The initiative aims to create a calmer shopping environment for people with autism and for any shoppers who find the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping an uncomfortable experience. Store staff have also undertaken additional training to help them support customers who may be overwhelmed by the sensory overload that Christmas shopping can be for many.
“We all know that shopping during the festive season can be stressful as shops turn up the music and bring as much festive cheer and theatre to the store to entice shoppers in, which is great but it’s not for everyone,” says Gary Grant, Founder and Executive Chairman of The Entertainer.
“So this year we’re doing something very different... This is to show our continued support for autistic people and their families and for those who find shopping during the festive season stressful and overwhelming. We hope that it helps make Christmas shopping enjoyable for everyone.”
Tom Purser, Head of Campaigns at the National Autistic Society, says the initiative – an extension of The Entertainer’s on-going support to make its stores more welcoming for all – will make the Christmas shopping experience “a little easier for autistic people and their families at one of the busiest times of the year”.
“There are 700,000 autistic people in the UK and their needs aren’t always immediately obvious. We know a basic understanding and small changes like quiet hours could transform the lives of autistic people and their families… We hope more shops will be inspired by The Entertainer and do their bit to help make sure autistic people and their families have the same opportunities as everyone else. If you would like to know more about autism visit autism.org.uk.”