Most of us remember layaway, the option many retailers gave to shoppers to set an item aside and pay for it over time, charging only a nominal fee for the service. People would put big ticket items like TVs or appliances on layaway, or use it for back to school clothes or holiday gift buying. It was a very popular option for those who didn't want or qualify for credit cards. But in the past decade, layaway became a relic of times past.
But in a sign of the times of economic recession, Wal-Mart, the country's largest discount retailer, is bringing back its layaway program:
Wal-Mart said on Thursday that it planned to bring back its layaway payment plan for the holidays, an indication that shoppers at the nation’s largest retailer were feeling more and more strapped.
Wal-Mart had scrapped layaway in 2006, saying that so many customers were using credit cards or gift cards that the program was obsolete. Now, though, consumers are demanding it, said Duncan Mac Naughton, chief merchandising officer for Wal-Mart’s United States stores.
“It just tells us the customer’s still struggling, as they tell us about their concerns with energy prices, housing prices, the job security, that 9.2 percent unemployment — it tells us that this is a fragile economy and the customer needs our help,” Mr. Mac Naughton said.
What do you think of the news? Will you use the layaway plan that Wal-Mart will offer? Is layaway something you used in the past and are excited to see emerge again? Share your opinion in the comments.
[Photo by J E Theriot]