Five years after Walmart stopped offering customers the option to put most purchases on layaway, the nation’s largest retailer has decided to bring it back for brief run during the 2011 holiday shopping season. Of course, this being Walmart, the holiday shopping season begins in October.
Sales at Walmart stores open for at least one year have fallen for nine consecutive quarters, so Big W is hoping that it will see some of the benefits its competitors have seen by offering the layaway option.
The layaway plan will become available starting October 17 and will be offered for toys and electronics in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The store, which never dropped the layaway option for fine jewelry purchases, says it will decide at a later date whether or not to continue or expand the program.
To qualify for layaway, customers must spend at least $50, and each item on layaway must be worth at least $15. Shoppers pay a $5 fee, put 10% down and must pay off the balance by Dec.16 lest they face a $10 cancellation fee.
“We’re always looking for ways to ease budget strain for our customers, and we know this holiday season in particular brings with it additional financial pressure,” said Walmart’s chief merchandising officer.