Walmart Reinstates Layaway For Holiday Season

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With the holidays approaching and the economy still hurting, Walmart said it will let customers use a layaway service. 

Consumer 10’s Kurt Ludlow said that layaway is attractive for those with bad or no credit, who have a fluctuating income or who are looking to lock in sale prices.

According to Walmart officials, when Walmart scrapped its layaway program a few years ago, shoppers were using cash, credit cards, and gift cards. Today, 51 percent of Walmart customers are just using cash.

"We heard a lot of feedback from our customers wanting layaway back again in the stores, even from our associates that work on our stores as well,” said Frank Cumutte, Walmart store manager. “We responded to those needs and are offering it again this year and are excited about it."

Walmart said it is bringing back a limited layaway program for the holidays. Only toys and electronics can be laid-away between Oct. 17 and Dec. 16, Ludlow reported.

Walmart followed other stores like Marshalls, Best Buy, Sears, Toys-R-Us, TJ Maxx and Kmart. Some of the stores offer layaway every day.

Kmart store manager Russell Kurtz showed Ludlow the storage room where TV’s, gaming systems and stereos are awaiting payoff and pickup.

“Normal, everyday layaway business, we keep this busy all year round,” Kurtz said. “So this is not holiday merchandise at all, this is basic, every day, what customers are buying.”

"I think especially with the attention with the credit crunch, things like that over the last few years, people are paying more attention to how much money they pay on credit cards, layaway is becoming a very viable option," Kurtz said.

Customer Lazenobia Wilson was using layaway for a stroller.

“I use layaway a lot,” Wilson said. “TV's, blankets, sheet sets, bathroom items, clothes, baby items, toys, Christmas, Thanksgiving-- everything."

Layaway terms and conditions vary by store, Ludlow reported.

Most require a down payment of 10-20 percent, a payment schedule of 30 to 90 days and a modest cancelation service and cancelation fees of $5 to $10.

Ludlow explained how a typical layaway could work. If you were to layaway a $1,000 laptop you may pay a 5 percent layaway fee of $50 and a 25 percent initial down payment of $250. You would then make six bi-weekly payments of $125. The laptop would be yours for $1,050.

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