Walmart Is Changing Store Hours Across the Country, Starting Friday
Mornings may look a little different at your local Walmart soon.
Once upon a time, there was no freedom quite like being able to go to your local Walmart at 3 a.m. But since the start of the COVID pandemic, Walmart has made several changes to its store hours. These included the permanent end of 24-hour locations, temporary senior hours in the morning, and earlier closing times. Now, the big-box retailer is throwing another curveball at customers. Read on to find out how Walmart is changing store hours across the country, starting Friday.
Walmart is changing store hours this week.
Mornings will look a little different at your local Walmart soon. In a Nov. 7 press release, the company announced that it would be implementing "sensory-friendly hours" at all of its stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico this week. These hours will take place from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time every day, starting Nov. 10.
"During these hours, we hope our customers and associates will find the stores to be a little easier on the eyes and ears," Walmart stated in its release. "These changes are thanks to those who shared their feedback on how their stores could help them feel like they belong."
The retailer tested sensory-friendly hours at stores earlier this year.
This isn't the first time Walmart has tried this. As part of its back-to-school initiative, the retailer first tested sensory-friendly hours back in July and August, according to a previous July press release. But the special shopping experience only took place on Saturday mornings during those two months, and not all stores were included.
"Earlier this year, we took a step in making shopping in our stores more inclusive for those with sensory disabilities by taking measures to create a less stimulating environment for a couple hours each Saturday," Walmart explained in its November release. "During the back-to-school season, we changed the TV walls to a static image, turned off the radio, and lowered the lights where possible."
Walmart said there is no planned end date now.
Walmart's initial test during the back-to-school season is what pushed the retailer to expand these sensory-friendly hours to all stores.
"The feedback of the pilot program was overwhelmingly positive. These changes may have seemed small to some, but for others they transformed the shopping experience," Walmart stated in its new release. "Our biggest piece of feedback? Keep it going!"
The retailer is also bringing the sensory-friendly hours back without a timeframe in mind. Once they begin on Nov. 10, Walmart said there is currently "no planned end date," according to the release.
"We love being part of a team that can help create a culture where everyone feels they belong," Walmart said. "Belonging looks different for each person, but when we listen and value everyone's perspectives, thoughtful change can happen."
The retailer added, "We continue to welcome feedback on how we can enhance these sensory-friendly measures in our stores. Our mission is to help families save money so they can live better, and we'll continue to take steps to fulfill that promise for everyone who comes through our doors."
Experts say sensory-friendly hours are a smart business move.
Walmart is joining a growing number of retailers and entertainment venues who are adapting their spaces to address the varied needs of consumers, CNN reported. And Burt Flickinger, retail expert and managing director of retail consultancy Strategic Resource Group, told the news outlet that this shift is a smart business move for the company.
"At a time when discounters are competing more aggressively with each other for consumers' dollars, Walmart is not only building some goodwill with its shoppers but these changes could also bring more shoppers into its stores and keep them shopping there longer," Flickinger explained.
The morning timeframe is also a good choice for shoppers who may have special requirements because "it's not the busiest time of the day for Walmart stores," according to Flickinger. "The busiest time tends to be from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. after school, on the way home from work, or Sunday night," he noted.