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LEEDS, U.K. - Asda, the U.K. retailer owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., has said it will begin using disabled mystery shoppers at all of its stores. The company also plans to invest euro 30 million ($34.3 million) in facilities for people with disabilities between now and October 2004, with the intent of becoming fully compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act (1995).
Disabled mystery shoppers will visit each of Asda's 260 stores four times a year, testing the retailer against a number of criteria covering mobility, visual impairment and communication issues.
Each shopper will assess Asda on issues specific to his or her disability. So people with mobility issues look at disabled parking, hard of hearing people check out induction loops, and visually impaired people rate how clutter-free aisles are.
To ensure that all 118,000 store employees meet the approval of their disabled customers, each has gone through a computer-based learning disability awareness training program. Customer service colleagues, greeters and those who have the most contact with customers are also receiving additional, more extensive training in disability awareness and etiquette.