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Newly opened toy store will be holding a quiet hour every day in the lead-up to Christmas

It may have opened with a bang at Grosvenor Shopping Centre at the end of November, but The Entertainer has started switching off its in-store music and dimming its lights for one hour each day to deliver a calmer shopping experience throughout December for Macclesfield shoppers.

The popular UK toy store is introducing a Christmas quiet hour to create a safe environment for autistic shoppers and visitors as well as anyone who finds the hustle and bustle and festive shopping an uncomfortable experience.

The quiet hour will take place during the first hour of opening, between 9am and 10am and the initiative will be in place right up to 31 December.

Grosvenor Shopping Centre’s store is one of 171 across the UK that has implemented the initiative, while its staff have undertaken additional training to help support customers who may be overwhelmed by the sensory overload that Christmas shopping brings for many.

Ed Kennedy, general manager at the Macclesfield mall, said: “This is an excellent initiative and we‘re proud that The Entertainer has taken this step to support our local autistic community.

“Christmas is an incredibly busy time of year that can become uncomfortable and it is pleasing to see this step being taken to combat that and deliver a much calmer shopping experience.”

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of The Entertainer, said: “This year we’re doing something very different – for the first hours’ trading each day there will be no music playing, our lights will be dimmed wherever possible and our stores will be made to feel calmer for our Christmas quiet hour."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 Community, added: “We are delighted that our Autism Hour sponsor The Entertainer is introducing Christmas Quiet Hours to make shopping a little easier for autistic people and their families at one of the busiest times of the year.”

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