Industry backs Purple Tuesday

Stores across UK commit to support disabled customers

Purple Tuesday encourages businesses to do more for disabled customers

RETAILERS across the UK are doing their bit to support disabled customers today (12 November) as part of the Purple Tuesday campaign.

Hundreds of retailers including Sainsbury’s, M&S and Blakemore Retail – a wholesaler for Spar stores south of the border – have pledged to make long-term changes that will improve accessibility across stores.

As part of its Purple Tuesday activities, Blakemore is providing accessibility training for 4,300 staff and making training available to 700 independent Spar retailers.

Sainsbury’s and Argos have announced a new trial of a weekly ‘Sunflower Hour’ in 30 stores. The Sunflower Hour involves creating a calmer environment by reducing background noise. Customers can also choose to pick up a sunflower lanyard which has been designed to act as a discreet sign for store staff to recognise that they may need to provide customers with additional support. Sainsbury’s was the first retailer to trial this initiative in 2018.

M&S has also committed to a number of improvements to its stores and website, including the introduction of sunflower lanyards into all stores. Earlier this month M&S launched its ‘Making Every Day Accessible’ campaign, introducing a number of resources for store staff including top tips for assisting customers with additional needs.

Mike Adams, chief executive of Purple Tuesday organiser Purple said: “Meeting the needs of disabled customers makes commercial sense for organisations of all sizes, from all sectors, but our message to organisations is: you don’t have to spend big budgets to make lasting change. That’s why we’re urging organisations to focus on improvements that go ‘beyond the front door’. Introducing staff training and improving website accessibility are low cost changes, but the difference to a company’s bottom line – as well as to a disabled consumer’s personal experience – can be significant.

“Purple Tuesday has more than doubled in size this year, with more than 2000 organisations from a variety of sectors making commitments to improve the customer experience for disabled people. These are long-term changes that will have a lasting impact for millions of customers – and improve the commercial opportunities for the organisations involved.”

Purple is a charity focused on improving the relationship between the business world and people with disabilities. Purple aims to support businesses and disabled people by improving accessibility and providing business with resources to better serve disabled customers and staff.