Supermarkets in Tayside are introducing a “quiet hour” for customers who struggle in noisy environments.
The Morrisons branches in Dundee and Perth will hold the special sessions, which have been designed with the support of the National Autistic Society, every Saturday from 9am until 10am.
During that hour, the stores will dim the lights, turn music and radios off, avoid making tannoy announcements and reduce the movement of trolleys and baskets.
Staff will also turn checkout beeps and other electrical sounds down, as well as placing posters outside to let customers know it is quiet hour and ask if they can also keep the noise down.
It comes after Morrisons carried out successful trials earlier in the year in three of its UK stores.
The sessions helped bosses find out what improvements could be made and settle on a convenient time for the quiet hour to take place.
The company found one in five people had a friend or family member with autism and that many would appreciate the chance to shop in relative peace on Saturday mornings.
David Hughes at Morrisons in Perth said: “Our initial trials showed there is a need for a quieter shopping experience.
“We hope that these changes make a real difference for some of our customers at our store.”
The sessions will be open to everyone but are likely to be particularly useful for people with autism and their carers.
People who are autistic or those with autistic children can find shopping in a supermarket an anxious experience due to the amount of noise and lights, which lead to “stimulation overload”.
Morrisons will also work to improve awareness among colleagues of the issues autistic customers might face in store.
Daniel Cadey, from the National Autistic Society welcomed the move.
He said: “Around 700,000 people are on the autism spectrum in the UK.
“This means they see, hear and feel the world differently to other people, often in a more intense way.
“Morrisons ‘Quieter Hour’ is a step in the right direction for autistic people who find supermarket shopping a real struggle.”