Sears Heard That Rent-To-Own Is Ridiculously Profitable, Decides To Try It Out

The rent-to-own business is an extremely profitable one: who wouldn’t want to collect more than three times the list price of, say, a computer? So it’s interesting but not surprising that troubled retailer Sears is now entering the lease-to-own market in a partnership with the existing rent-to-own company WhyNotLeaseIt.

“The program gives a much-needed financial solution to those unable to purchase on credit, secure credit, or because of immediate need, can’t use layaway,” a Sears Financial executive explained to the Associated Press.

That’s true: rent-to-own is a step beyond (or a step down from, depending on your point of view) the layaway programs that Sears and Kmart revived during the recession. From the retailer’s perspective, it’s designed to help consumers who don’t have the benefit of psychic powers and did not start saving up for a refrigerator on a layaway plan six months before theirs broke down.

After testing the program in a new stores starting back in September, the program rolls out nationwide this week. The selection is pretty much the same as other rent-to-own outfits: furniture, mattresses, electronics, and home appliances. Those are also all classic things that people have bought at Sears for most of the last century.

Sears launches new lease-to-own program [AP] (Thanks, Lisa!)

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