Wal-Mart Softens 2012 Holiday Layaway Policy Plans

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is generally considered a very important barometer when it comes to the economy and spending habits of Joe Public.  If that remains true going forward, then the layaway economy is only going to get larger and more popular.  Wal-Mart is rolling back the Wal-Mart holiday layaway schedule to make it more attractive for buyers in the 2012 holiday season.

The world’s largest retailer is rolling back its Christmas layaway open fee from $15 to $5 after taking direct customer feedback since it announced this year’s holiday layaway program. Customers who make their final payment will receive a refund of the $5 fee on a Wal-Mart gift card.

Starting on September 16, 2012 and going through December 14, 2012, the Wal-Mart policy will be for 90 days on layaway and the list is expanded for more products in small home appliances, sporting goods, electronics, toys and jewelry. Customers need to sign up on their local Wal-Mart Facebook page to be able to start their layaway on Sept. 14.

More new plans will take the 2011 time period from 60 days to pay up to 90 days to pay this year. The open fee will remain $5 after all, and the cancellation fee will go to nothing ($0) rather than the $5 last year.  Individual items have to be priced at $15 or more and the total layaway purchase has to be $50 or more. The news report from the company said, ” If the order is cancelled or not paid in full, the open fee is not refunded; however, no additional cancellation fee will be charged. Layaway open fees and refunds may vary by state.”

If Wal-Mart is lowering its layaway fees and going to loosen up on some of its terms and fees, it is a safe bet that other retailers will as well.

JON C. OGG

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