Australia-based supermarket chain Coles has extended Quiet Hour, the low-sensory shopping experience at its stores, to five days a week.

The one-hour period is specially designed for customers who have difficulty shopping during a heightened sensory environment.

Coles says that the expansion is intended to cater to a broader range of customers, including working parents.

During this period, the retailer turns down the radio to the lowest volume and reduces register and scanner volumes.

Team members also refrain from using the public address system unless an emergency arises.

Quiet Hour, which was initially between 10:30AM and 11:30AM on Tuesdays, will now be between 6:00PM and 7:00PM from Monday to Friday.

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Coles diversity and inclusion head Katie Wyatt said: “At Coles, we are always looking for new ways to serve our customers with disabilities and their careers and we are privileged to have many active voices of people with disability in our feedback channels.

“Up to 70% of autistic people experience sensitivity to sounds, with autistic adults reporting that these symptoms worsen with stress and anxiety3 therefore, Quiet Hour promotes increased opportunity and enhances the shopping experience for thousands of customers.” 

Expanding Quiet Hour is one of the many initiatives Coles has implemented to support people who are on the autism spectrum.

In 2021, the retailer teamed up with the non-profit autism organisation Amaze to address the requirements of Autistic people and their families.

Amaze CEO Jim Mullan said: “We have been delighted to see our partnership with Coles grow in strength and success since 2021 and much of that is a testament to their commitment to building an environment and a workforce that is representative of the community they serve, including autistic people.”