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Sainsbury's trials 'slow shopping' concept to assist elderly and disabled customers

| International retailers

Sainsbury's is trialling a new concept called Slow Shopping in its Gosforth store to help elderly customers and those with disabilities.

Run at the store every Tuesday from 1pm to 3pm, Slow Shopping involves people using the service being greeted at the entrance by a Sainsbury’s staff member who will assist them with their shopping. Chairs are put out at the end of aisles to enable people who struggle to stand all the way round the shop to have a rest. The store also mans two help desks where samples of products such as fruit, ginger biscuits and Victoria sponge are offered.

The idea was championed by Katherine Vero who lives in Newcastle and used to find it hard to go shopping with her mother who had dementia. Research published by the Alzheimer’s Society has found that eight out of ten of the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK list shopping as their favourite activity. However, since being diagnosed, one in four have given up shopping.

Vero said: “My mum used to love shopping but as her dementia developed it became increasingly difficult and stressful for us both. But I didn’t want her to stop going out and become isolated. I wondered if there was a way to help us enjoy shopping.

“After she passed away I was inspired to come up with the idea of Slow Shopping and was delighted when Sainsbury’s agreed to help me trial it. I hope other retailers will follow.”

Scott McMahon, deputy manager of Sainsbury’s Gosforth store, added: “When my father developed cancer I saw how hard he found shopping yet he still wanted to go to maintain his independence, so when Katherine approached me about trialling Slow Shopping I was keen to help.

“I knew Sainsbury’s would want to support it too. We invest a lot of time in training colleagues in how to help customers with disabilities; so we were well placed to go the extra step of putting out chairs and manning help points, but it’s our colleagues who really make the difference.”

Sainsbury’s said it has invested over 50,000 hours over the past year in training store staff on how to help customers with visible disabilities and non-visible disabilities like autism.

Customers can request assistance with their shopping at any customer service desk in any Sainsbury’s store.

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