Taking place on Tuesday 13th November, Purple Tuesday is the UK’s first accessible shopping day aimed at retailers to make their stores more inclusive for people with disabilities.

Both bricks and mortar stores and online retailers across the country will introduce new ways to make shopping experiences more accessible for customers who have mental and physical disabilities.

Disability organisation Purple are coordinating the event which will take place in shopping centres such as Bluewater in Kent, the Bullring in Birmingham, and Regents Street in London.

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Retailers including Argos, Asda, Sainsbury’s, and Marks & Spencer have also signed up to participate in Purple Tuesday.

Mike Adams, Chief Executive of Purple, told Sky News: “There’s a vast array of adjustments retailers can make that will have a significant impact, and many that can be implemented quickly.

“Customer service is a perfect example – as part of Purple Tuesday we’ll be providing a simple training kit to help in-store staff feel confident in assisting disabled shoppers.”

He added that it’s because of the challenges him and his partner face when they’re out shopping that they try to encourage businesses to be more inclusive.

It is estimated that the collective spending power of disabled people and their families – the “Purple Pound” – is £249 billion a year.

In 2016, inaccessible websites and apps accounted for, approximately, a £11.75 billion in lost revenue in the UK alone. But less than 1 in 10 of companies have a dedicated strategy for targeting disabled customers.

Zoe Young, Lead Sustainability Manager for Marks & Spencer, said: “We have DisabledGo Access Guides which tell us a lot of information about how accessible our stores are.

“As you can imagine this varies dramatically across all of our stores, but what we’re doing is we are reviewing all of that information and we are addressing some of those accessibility needs and we’re making physical changes across our stores.”

Research by the Department for Work and Pensions finds that shopping, eating and drinking out are three of the most difficult activities for disabled people in terms of accessibility.

Purple Tuesday is being held in November ahead of the Christmas shopping period when busy stores can make shopping particularly difficult for disabled people.

The organisers have said that while the event will not solve all accessibility issues, it is a step in the right direction.

Mike concluded: “Fundamentally, Purple Tuesday isn’t about a single day in the year but encouraging lasting change that creates a virtuous circle between businesses and disabled consumers.”

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