Penneys Tralee To Introduce Autism-Friendly Shopping Hours

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Pictured at the launch of the Penneys and AsIAm autism-friendly shopping at Penneys flagship store on Dublin’s Mary Street are from left Adam Harris, Founder and CEO of AsIAm ; and Nessa Maher, Assistant Manager Penneys, Mary St. Photo: Naoise Culhane

PENNEYS, in partnership with AsIAm, Ireland’s national autism charity, will introduce autism-friendly shopping in its stores around Ireland, including those in Tralee and Killarney.

Autism Champions with specialist training from AsIAm, will be available in every store to provide additional support to customers.

Dedicated digital support including interactive store map with in-store sights and sounds, and visual guides will help customers prepare for the shopping experience.

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The initiative will create an inclusive shopping experience for autistic people and their friends and families.

Every Sunday, starting from November 14, autistic people and those close to them can visit Penneys stores during the Sensory Friendly Shopping Hour, which is the first hour of store opening, secure in the knowledge that several measures are in place to ensure a calmer and more inclusive shopping experience.

These measures include noise reduction across the store such as silencing tills and in-store announcements and turning off in-store music, while also offering additional assistance and support from in-store Champions who have all received specialised training from AsIAm.

As part of the Autism-Friendly Shopping Experience, Penneys has created special digital support materials accessible on the Penneys website to ensure that shopping is more accessible for autistic people outside of the Sensory Friendly Shopping Hour.

Customers can visit the relevant store page and, through visual and audio aids, prepare themselves for the sights and sounds they may experience while in store that may cause sensory overload.

It also includes a store map and visual guide called My Trip to Penneys to prepare for their visit and help identify how they can navigate through  the store when they arrive.

Customers will also be able to easily access these online supports through QR codes placed in-store.

As part of the rollout Penneys employees will receive training supported by AsIAm. This training will be delivered through a custom-built Autism Awareness e-learning module, which will be hosted on Penneys’ digital learning platform.

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